Man arrested for pretending to be officer, pulling over deputy

A Hillsborough County, Florida deputy sheriff arrested a 35-year-old man on Fourth of July after being accused of pretending to be a law enforcement officer.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Barry Lee Hastings, Jr. was in a black Crown Victoria when he pulled up next to an off-duty Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputy traveling eastbound on I-4 just before 8:30 p.m.

After Hastings and the off-duty deputy pulled off to the shoulder, Hastings told the deputy he needed to “slow down.”

The deputy then proceeded to asked Hastings for his credentials. Hastings told him “he was a law enforcement officer and his credentials were at the office.” He told the deputy he could follow him back to the “station” so he could obtain and show him his credentials.

At that point, the deputy dialed 911 and Hastings fled eastbound on I-4. Shortly after exiting on Branch Forbes, Hastings was stopped by a Hillsborough County deputy, where he was detained while they interviewed the off-duty deputy.

“A functional siren box and light setup, similar to HCSO’s, was discovered within the Crown Victoria. There was also a CB radio. No handcuffs or firearms were located in the vehicle,” the Sheriff’s Office said.

Hastings was arrested for impersonating a public officer.

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