HOUSTON – A man was arrested for pretending to be a police officer when he pulled over and scolded a woman who was driving while talking on her cell phone, according to authorities.
Damian Martinez, 62, was charged with impersonating a public servant.
A woman said she was driving westbound in the 1400 block of Spencer Highway around 5 p.m. Tuesday when a male in a white vehicle drove up beside her and began yelling at her that it was illegal for her to talk on her cell phone while driving.
She said she thought he was an undercover police officer because he had a badge attached to a chain around his neck, and red and blue lights were mounted in the windshield of his car. Still, she hung up with the original person she was on the phone with and called the South Houston Police Department’s non-emergency number to tell them what was happening, according to court documents.
The driver in the white vehicle pulled up behind her and exited his vehicle. When he approached her, he allegedly showed her the badge around his neck and said he was with the South Houston Crime Watch and it was illegal to talk on the cell phone while driving. But when she told him that she was on the phone with the South Houston Police Department, he immediately hopped back into his vehicle and took off. As he drove away, the woman jotted down his license plate number. She handed that over to police when they arrived.
Through the license plate number, police were able to track down the man at his home. Officers found the man’s badge, which said “Volunteer Crime Watch,” but there was no official watch program in the city, investigators said. He also had an empty firearms holster attached to his waist.
The man was then arrested and booked into the South Houston jail. He was given no bond. South Houston Police Department would like to know if anyone else has been stopped by this suspect.
Martinez was in a wheelchair when he made an appearance before the judge Friday morning, but it was not known why. He was not in a wheelchair when he pulled over the woman.