Man allegedly impersonates officer during road rage incident

Rain Smith • Mar 27, 2013 at 2:08 AM

A Kingsport man has been arrested for allegedly claiming to be a police officer during a road rage confrontation, then telling the other motorist they were free to go on a verbal warning.

George Dustin Johnson, 22, of 1000 Stonegate Road, apartment M-10, turned himself in at the Kingsport Justice Center on Tuesday night. A Kingsport police detective obtained a warrant for his arrest the previous day, stemming from investigation into a March 12 incident on East Stone Drive.

A KPD report says two occupants of a vehicle contacted police shortly after 6 p.m. The driver, 50, said he was traveling westbound near Home Depot when a Ford Explorer pulled in front of his vehicle.

The victim told police he had to quickly swerve to avoid a collision, then "waved his arms" at the other driver. That's when the Explorer, later learned to be driven by Johnson, allegedly pulled behind the victims' vehicle and began "flashing lights" affixed to his Ford's grill.

Both occupants of the other vehicle claim to have thought the Explorer was an unmarked police unit, prompting them stop along the shoulder East Stone Drive. According to their statements Johnson pulled along side, rolled down his window and, "words were exchanged."

The alleged victims told police they questioned Johnson about being an officer, with him claiming to be off-duty. When they asked to see his badge Johnson reportedly refused, then advised the pair that they were let off the hook, "with a warning."

When Johnson drove away the other vehicle briefly followed, according to court records, obtaining his Ford's license plate number. The occupants then called police and relayed the alleged incident, with the vehicle information they provided traced back to Johnson and his residence.

KPD Lt. Bob Abernathy says investigation revealed four white, legal LED lights on the grill of Johnson's vehicle, where fog lights are typically mounted. When questioned he reportedly admitted to flashing them on and off at the other vehicle with a switch, but denied saying he was an off-duty officer.

Following his Tuesday arrest Johnson was arraigned Wednesday morning on the charge of impersonating an officer, then released on $3,000 bond.

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