CLEVELAND (WJW) — Suspected police impersonators are being blamed for an accident on a busy on-ramp in Cleveland that happened during the morning rush hour Monday.
According to Cleveland Division of Police dispatch tapes, a real police officer told dispatchers, “This is going to be a person riding around in a regular vehicle with red and blue lights trying to pull cars over.”
Video from Ohio Department of Transportation cameras that was obtained by Fox 8 News shows the incident. It happened just after 9 a.m. when drivers on MLK Boulevard near Interstate 90 reported that a white Chevy Impala with flashing interior lights, was trying to get other drivers to stop in the middle of traffic or pull over. The ODOT video shows the suspect behind the wheel making a double U-turn and then pulling onto the ramp from MLK Blvd. to westbound I-90.
Witnesses told police the suspect’s flashing lights caused the driver of a sedan to suddenly stop on the ramp and an SUV then crashed into the back of the sedan.
The video shows the white Impala speed away onto I-90, where it was last spotted heading toward Downtown Cleveland.
The legitimate police responded to the scene and spoke with the two drivers involved in the crash that was caused by the fake police. Fortunately, the victims were not seriously injured.
This crash is the latest in a series of incidents involving police impersonators pulling over or trying to pull over drivers in Cleveland.
According to police reports, the fake cops started appearing in early March. In some of the crimes, teams of suspects were using a dark-colored Dodge Durango and a black Jeep with interior flashing lights to convince drivers to stop. They were then confronted at gunpoint and their cars and valuables were taken.
In one case, a driver in Slavic Village refused to pull over, called 911, and did as the dispatcher suggested by driving to the nearest police station. Investigators said it’s unknown if the imposters in the white Impala are connected to the earlier crimes.
Anyone who can help identify any of the phony cops is asked to call Cleveland Police or Crime Stoppers.