A nearly identical incident occurred at the same location and same time of night more than three years ago — with that woman claiming she was raped. The sheriff’s department closed its investigation of that case nine months later when the woman moved out of state and refused to answer calls from investigators.
Hawkins County Sheriff Roger Christian said his office assumes it is indeed dealing with a police impostor, and investigators are looking into connections between the two reports.
Wednesday’s incident occurred between 11 and 11:15 p.m., according to the police report, near Marble Hall Road on westbound Highway 11-W. The woman, age 26 with an address listed in Morristown, told deputies she pulled over after “a black unmarked police car” came up behind her and activated a blue dash light.
“A male dressed in all black came up to her vehicle,” reads the offense report. “She was uncomfortable and rolled her window down only a little.”
The woman said the alleged officer said one of her taillights was out. She told the man she knew they weren’t “because they were just checked today.”
The report says the woman told the alleged officer that she was calling Central Dispatch on her cell phone, requesting another officer respond to the scene. The man then returned to his car, and the woman pulled away on westbound 11-W.
“When she pulled out he went back east,” reads the HCSD report.
Besides his black clothing and automobile, the only other description of the man is he wore black gloves.
On Jan. 23, 2007, a 22-year-old woman told the sheriff’s department she was pulled over by an unmarked car in the same area at the same time of night. The man allegedly activated a dash light to pull her over, as in Wednesday’s incident, but was driving a white sedan rather than a black one.
The alleged victim from 2007 said the man forced her out of the car at gunpoint and took her to the side of the highway. She said he then tore her clothing and raped her.
After the man drove away from the scene, the woman went to the Lakeside Market to seek help.
In October 2007, the sheriff’s department closed its investigation of the case. Along with the woman moving out of state and refusing to cooperate with investigators, Christian said DNA samples taken from her revealed no “foreign DNA” that would have been present had a rape occurred.
On Friday, Christian warned motorists stopped by police in dark, remote areas to exercise caution. He advised slowing down, activating the right turn signal to acknowledge the officer, then proceeding slowly to a public place before stopping.
“All of our officers know if they stop a woman driver and she continues on slowly with her blinker on that it’s acceptable behavior,” said Christian.
He added that women should keep their doors locked, rolling down their windows just enough to communicate and provide their driver’s license through the gap.