An off-duty Irvine police sergeant helped catch two suspects accused of posing as law enforcement officers and trying to get him to pull over today on the San Diego (405) Freeway in the Fountain Valley area.
Sgt. Bill Russell was driving home from work about 12:30 a.m. when the driver of an all-black Ford Crown Victoria attempted to pull him over, according to Irvine police Cmdr. Mike Hallinan.
The veteran law enforcement officer realized something was not right about the traffic stop and dialed 911, Hallinan said.
"He did exactly what we want him to do — don't get involved, call 911 and get some uniformed people there,'' Hallinan said. "And then he was a good witness.''
The bogus traffic stop attempt occurred just north of Euclid Street, according to the California Highway Patrol. The driver flashed a red-and-blue strobe flashlight through the windshield.
When Russell did not pull over, the driver activated a "forward facing spotlight,'' then accelerated and passed the sergeant, the CHP reported.
Russell trailed the suspects' vehicle and gave directions to a dispatcher, Hallinan said.
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CHP officers located the Ford as the driver was exiting the northbound 405 Freeway at Beach Boulevard, and he pulled over at Center Avenue just west of Beach, according to the CHP.
Armando Raul Hernandez-Perez, 26, of Aliso Viejo, and April Noemi Lopez- Fabian, 20, of Laguna Hills, were arrested without incident, according to the CHP, which reported that replica guns were found in the Crown Victoria.
The two were booked on suspicion of conspiracy and impersonating a police officer.