Motocross superstar James "Bubba" Stewart Jr. could have been living out a fantasy of being a cop or simply running late for a flight Monday afternoon when, according to authorities, he flashed red and blue lights at the truck in front of him on Interstate 4.
But that Chevy Silverado happened to be filled with legitimate off-duty officers.
The stunt earned Stewart — known to his fans as the "Tiger Woods of Motocross" — a trip to jail and a felony charge of impersonating a law-enforcement officer after he and his passenger were arrested at Orlando International Airport. Passenger Quinault Thames Jehrrod, 44, faces a charge of tampering with evidence.
Stewart didn't tell officers why he operated the flashing lights — which according to the arrest report he purchased at a flea market — but experts say the dangers of police impersonation are real and could be psychologically motivated.
"There are cop wannabes who either want to be a police officer and have been rejected by police or it's their way of [living] the fantasy of their life dream," said Tod Burke, a former Maryland police officer and professor of criminal justice at Radford University, Radford, Va.