ROME — A motorist was pulled over by an apparently fake cop, according to a Peoria County sheriff's report.
About 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, shortly after the run-in, a 35-year-old Chillicothe man called police. He said he had been driving east on Rome Road, approaching Illinois Route 29, when a white Ford Crown Victoria whizzed by in the other direction, the report stated.
The Ford then pulled a U-turn and headed east. From behind the windshield, a flashing red-and-blue light was activated, so the Chillicothe motorist pulled over, the report stated.
He saw two people in the front seat of the Ford, which had spotlights mounted on each side. Both men got out of the Ford, with the passenger walking to the rear of the Chillicothe motorist's vehicle while the other man approached the driver-side window.
He asked the Chillicothe man for his license and registration, the report stated. The motorist could not see if the ersatz officer was wearing a gun belt or carrying a sidearm. However, the motorist noticed the would-be cop was wearing a black T-shirt with no badge or insignia, the report stated.
When the Chillicothe motorist asked for his name and police agency, the man in the black T-shirt slowly backed away to the rear of the car, where the Ford's passenger still was standing, the report stated. Then they both ran to the Ford and zoomed to Route 29, heading south.
The Chillicothe man followed the Ford briefly, but could not read the rear plate, the report said. He said that the plate looked as if it had been covered in plastic wrap, possibly to make it illegible, the report stated.
The Ford's driver appeared to be either an Hispanic male or a light-complected black male, the report stated. He was about 5 feet 6 inches and 130 pounds. The Chillicothe motorist could offer no description for the passenger, except that he was taller than the driver.
The sheriff's office considers the report to be legitimate, said Doug Gaa, chief sheriff’s deputy.
"This appears to be a single instance," Gaa said.
PHIL LUCIANO is a Journal Star columnist. He can be reached at email@example.com, facebook.com/philluciano and (309) 686-3155. Follow him on Twitter.com/LucianoPhil.