A man accused of impersonating a police officer found out the hard way that the woman driver he tried to pull over was an off-duty police officer.
“He picked the wrong person,” Floyd County Assistant Police Chief Mark Wallace said.
Tony Arden Ruth, 43, of 100A Reeceburg Road, was arrested shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday after a report that he was using flashing lights and driving aggressively in an attempt to conduct a traffic stop on another motorist.
The report came from the driver, Floyd County police investigator Amy Nails, who was on her way home from an evening in Cartersville.
“I’d been to the movies with my kids and family,” Nails said. “When I came through the (Ledbetter) Interchange to Turner McCall, I noticed him directly behind me.”
Ruth started flashing auxiliary lights in his grill and shining what appeared to be a handheld flashlight at her car, Nails said.
As he followed her down Turner McCall Boulevard, Nails called 911 and told the dispatcher what was happening.
“Fortunately, there were city and county officers close by. I don’t know if he saw them and got nervous, but he pulled into Kmart on Hicks Drive and was taken into custody.”
Ruth is charged with felony impersonating an officer and misdemeanor aggressive driving and reckless driving. He also faces three counts of cruelty to children in the second degree because there were three young children in Nails’ car.
The arrest report notes that Ruth’s wife was with him in his car, begging him to stop. Nails said he told the investigating officer he thought she was speeding and he was going to make a citizen’s arrest.
“The only reason I didn’t stop was I had three kids in my car, one in a car seat,” she said. “I’m confident if I would have stopped, he would have approached the vehicle. I don’t know what he would have done then.”
But Nails said “civilian” drivers in the same situation — women and men — should do what she actually did: Call 911.
“Slow down, don’t break any laws, pick up your cell and tell 911 what’s going on,” she said.
This is not the first time police have fielded complaints of people unconnected with law enforcement trying to initiate a traffic stop. Dispatchers are in contact with every officer on the job and can easily check to see if it’s a bona fide stop.
Ruth was driving a dark Chevrolet minivan. Anyone who’s been pulled over by a man in a car matching that description is asked to call the Rome Police Department at 706-238-5111.