Police impersonators beat and bound trucker in Louisiana

| Friday, March 29, 2002

A Texas trucker was beaten and bound by two men impersonating police officers Mar. 22 on Interstate 12 in Louisiana. She used her e-mail after the attackers left to call for help.

The woman, whose name was not released, was driving on I-12 through St. Tammany Parish shortly before 8 p.m. when a white sedan with red lights flashing on its roof pulled up behind her, said St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office spokesperson James Hartman. After pulling onto the shoulder, the two men told her to exit the truck. When she did, the men reportedly knocked her out with a blow to the head.

According to Hartman, once she regained consciousness, the men were nowhere to be found and her hands were bound with tape behind her back. She reportedly used her teeth to pull a pen from her pocket and punched in an emergency message to her company on the truck cab's satellite-linked computer, which directed authorities to the scene.

Police arrived shortly thereafter to find the woman beside her truck, which was off the westbound lanes of I-12 near state Highway 1077 north of Madisonville. She was still bound, and had visible injuries to her forehead. According to police, nothing appeared to be missing from the cab, and the tanker truck she was driving from Mississippi to Baton Rouge was empty. Hartman told Land Line the motive for the attack is under investigation.

The red lights used by the attackers reportedly were portable magnetic units that can be attached to the top of a vehicle. Hartman said few law enforcement agencies use such lights and Louisiana agencies always use at least one blue light on their vehicles.

The suspects are described as white, both about 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing about 180 to 200 pounds with very pale skin and very short dark hair. Anyone with information should contact the Sheriff's Office at (985) 892-4141.

Hartman advises that drivers who believe they are being stopped by a person impersonating a police officer should maintain a legal speed and drive to a well-populated or well-lighted area before pulling over.
--Keith Goble

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