Highland Sheriff Discusses Incidents

Travelers between Augusta County and Highland County have become increasingly wary after a number of reported incidents involving the attempted stoppage of vehicles by an individual allegedly impersonating a police officer. According to the Augusta County Sheriff’s office, the individual is a white male driving a dark SUV.

Allegheny Mountain Radio spoke with Highland County Sheriff Tim Duff about the incidents.

“This message is concerning the incidents of vehicles being approached or stopped by an individual displaying blue lights and/or portraying themselves as a law enforcement officer.

“As far as a formal report to my office, we’ve got five to six actual documented entries in my system. There have been blue lights used on one occasion – there have been high beams flashed on at least three separate occasions.”

The incidents have taken place on Route 250 between the two counties, and seem to be centered near an area in Ramsey’s Draft in West Augusta County, near the site of new bridge construction. This construction features a stoplight for traffic control, and is in an area of spotty cell phone coverage.

“Every incident that has been reported to us has had as one of it’s common denominators the new bridge activity in West Augusta – either commencing there, terminating there, or a ill feeling on the part of the citizen, commencing there and then the flashing of the lights, the white lights, within a mile or two west of that area.”

Sheriff Duff was unable to provide in depth details on the investigation, due to it’s ongoing nature, but he did provide guidance for travelers.

“The public is reminded that you are not required to immediately pull over upon seeing blue lights in your rear view mirror. You may, and because of these recent incidents, you are encouraged, to continue driving after you turn your four way flashers on – that allows the officer to know that he has been seen. You are then strongly suggested to drive to a well lit area, whether that be McDowell, whether that be Monterey, whether that be a friend’s house, with lights on, at which point pull in. If you are still apprehensive, simply laying on the horn will certainly get the residents’ or the customers attention. If this individual is not a law enforcement officer, they are likely to leave rapidly. If they are one of our people, or a visiting law enforcement officer, they will know what’s going on, they will display their badge of authority, at which point things will progress, quote, normally.”

“Should an incident occur, it should be reported immediately, to either my office or the Augusta County Sheriff’s office, depending on the location of the apparent stop. Any information you can relay to the office that you’re calling, regarding make, model of the vehicle, the tag number would be critical, and a physical description, will certainly aid the law enforcement agency.”

“Reporting by way of social media, such as Facebook, is not recommended, as this individual may also be using this venue for their intended purposes.”

“Until this is resolved, it is strongly recommended that you do not stop to offer assistance to unknown individuals on the road. Proceed to a store, a well lit home, or wait for cell service to come back online, and call my office at 468-2210, or 911.

“The safety of our citizens is our number one priority. Certainly, when in doubt, call it in.”

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

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