FALLBROOK – An Oceanside man is behind bars on suspicion of impersonating a sheriff’s deputy and pulling over several North County drivers over the past 10 months.
Michael Carmichael, 21, of Oceanside, was arrested after a sheriff’s deputy on patrol observed the suspect conducting a traffic stop around 2 a.m. on June 13 at the intersection of South Mission and Winter Haven roads in Fallbrook.
The deputy initially pulled over to assist Carmichael, who he initially thought was a plainclothes deputy. As the officer approached him, the suspect ran to his vehicle, a silver 2009 Toyota Camry equipped with flashing red and blue emergency lights, and drove away.
The deputy gave chase and attempted to pull the vehicle over but the suspect kept driving, eventually turning off all of his vehicle lights, making it too dangerous for the deputy to continue his pursuit.
Later, the deputy discovered a crash scene involving the suspect’s vehicle. First responders pulled Carmichael out of the wreckage and extinguished a small brush fire nearby.
A female acquaintance, who was riding with Carmichael at the time, sustained minor aches and pains from the crash. Detectives determined she was not involved in Carmichael’s alleged impersonation of law enforcement.
Carmichael was treated at a local hospital before he was taken into custody. The Oceanside resident was charged with impersonating a peace officer, felony evading, possessing a baton and brass knuckles, and false imprisonment.
According to the Sheriff’s Department, Carmichael made 10 other fake traffic stops in Bonsall, Fallbrook and Oceanside since last August.
“There are a total of six identified victims within (the) Sheriff’s jurisdiction,” said Lt. Amber Braggs, media relations director for the sheriff’s department. “Five were male and one was female.”
When he was arrested, Carmichael was wearing tactical pants, a black polo shirt with San Diego County Sheriff’s Department patches on its sleeves and a vest with a sheriff patch on the front and back.
During a search of his Oceanside home later that day, deputies found other items that could be used to impersonate a deputy, police officer and security guard. On the night of his arrest, the deputy observed Carmichael wearing the shirt adorned with Sheriff’s Department patches and a gun belt with a replica gun in the holster. Deputies recovered other replica guns during the search of Carmichael’s home.
Carmichael remains in Vista Detention Facility with a $170,000 bail. His arraignment was held June 15 and his next court date is June 23.
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