Alleged deputy impersonator stopped cars, now in jail

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

By Karen Hall

Staff Writer

A Petersburg man remained jailed Tuesday, charged with criminal impersonation, reckless endangerment, and evading and resisting arrest.

Kevin Lee Johnson, 29, of Bert Watt Road, was arrested shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday, May 13.

"I was heading towards Belfast and when I passed Embers East trailer park a white car that looked like a Crown Victoria pulled out behind me," wrote Johnson's first victim in her statement. "It looked like an unmarked police car. The car started flashing a bright white light at me. It kept following me and flashing the light," she continued. "The white car was directly on my rear bumper. I didn't see any blue lights, but I slowed down in case it really was the police and I called 911."

The dispatcher advised her not to stop, and remained on the phone with her as Johnson repeatedly drove near her, almost hitting her four or five times.

"I kept going down the road trying to get away from him, and he kept cutting me off," the 30-year-old woman continued. "Then he pulled beside me and I showed him I was on my cell. He then sped off down the hill...I saw him come back on the other side of the highway, chasing a small white car towards Lewisburg."

The second victim, a man, did stop, and Johnson looked at his license and searched the trunk of his car while it was stopped on the four-lane at Belfast Hill.

Capt. Bart Fagan arrived at this point and reported he saw a white Crown Vic with a spotlight that had pulled over a vehicle. Fagan saw Johnson walking away from the driver-side door of a white Pontiac.

"I drew my weapon and ordered Mr. Johnson to put his hands on the trunk of his car, which he did," wrote Fagan, who then attempted to handcuff him, but Johnson "pulled away and began running.

"I pulled my Taser out, began chasing, then shot Mr. Johnson in the back with the Taser," Fagan continued. Johnson appeared unaffected and kept running across the road, pulling the Taser prongs out of his back. He jumped a guardrail and rolled down "about a 75-foot embankment."

Deputies Gaylon Thomason and Larry Hardin and Lewisburg Police Cpl. Steve Sanders Jr., arrived, and the officers began searching the area. About 10 minutes into the search, Fagan found Johnson lying under a downed tree. Johnson refused to show his hands and refused to get up, and Fagan had to use the Taser three more times, as well as spray Johnson with OC Spray, before he could be restrained in handcuffs and transported to jail.

The car is registered to Jake Hinerman of Collier Road, and he "leaves the key in the vehicle so if anyone needs to use it they can," Fagan noted. "He did not want to report it stolen," Fagan added.

The Tennessee Department of Correction Web site shows that Johnson had a prison sentence that lasted from March 27, 2006 to Sept. 27, 2010. Court records show he pled guilty to five counts of felony forgery in February 2006. In the past, Johnson has also been charged with assault, evading and resisting arrest, and several probation violations.