James Stewart arrested for impersonating cop

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James-Stewart-Mugshot

So far as bizarre arrests go, this one’s a doozy. Supercross racer James “Bubba” Stewart was released on bail this morning after being arrested for pulling over two off-duty state troopers on a rural road near his home in Florida. The officers say Stewart used red and blue flashing lights in his pickup truck to pull them over, then fled the scene when they identified themselves as LEOs. Stewart and his passenger, Thames Jehrrod Quinault, were later arrested at Orlando International Airport.

Update: video and bond information.

Update 2: information on the potential penalties Stewart faces.

Update 3: according to the AP, Stewart has been charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, Quinault with a third-degree felony.

Update 4: the police detail the events of Stewart’s arrest in a new video.

In addition to impersonating a police officer, Quinault has been charged with tampering with evidence. He allegedly tried to hid the police-like lights in his luggage.

The 2009 FIM World Supercross Champion currently races a Yamaha YZ450F, has his own reality show, Bubba’s World, and boasts sponsors like Nike and Oakley. He’s been called “The Tiger Woods of Supercross” a title which seems bizarrely fitting right now.

In this video, filmed by the Orlando Sentinel, a Florida State Trooper details the events of Bubba’s arrest.

Stewart’s last tweet, sent at 11:30 yesterday morning, about five hours before the incident, references work he was doing with The Boys and Girls Club of America.

Bond information posted by Orange county, Florida.

So what penalties could Stewart face? It looks unlikely that he’ll have to serve prison time. Florida state law classifies impersonating a police officer as either a level 2 or 3 felony. Of 161 people convicted of a level 2 impersonation charge in Florida between 2001 and 2005, 18 were imprisoned with a mean sentence of 42.7 months. 30 people were sentenced for level 3 impersonation during the same time period, with a mean sentence length of 50.5 months.

Additionally, it’s a first degree misdemeanor to use or even posses flashing blue lights in a personal vehicle. There are also non-criminal traffic violations related to the offense.

Regardless, impersonating a police officer and fleeing to an international airport? This is going to be a big scandal.

via MyFoxDFW, Bay9News and Orlando Sentinel

  • Brook

    D’oh!

  • aristurtle

    Heh. Whackers.

  • noone1569

    I heard this on the news this morning. Hilarious. WTF was he thinking? I can’t wait to see more information.

    Also, oddly enough, I bet this ends up being a positive thing for supercross as people will naturally be interested in this story then likely will want to see what this SX thing is all about. . .Thus, more viewers/attendees and merch sales

  • gregorbean

    WTF? At least one can understand what Tiger was thinking while banging cocktail waitresses. This is just bizarre.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      This is actually a pretty typical pastime sport for dumb redneck kids from the country that are bored/drunk/high/alloftheabove.

      • michael

        growing up in redneck-land I must agree with grant. While stupid, it’s definitely not out of character. It’s a little like jumping railroad tracks with your pickup, cowtippin, bb gun wars, roman candle fights, etc,etc. It’s all fun and games until somebody gets arrested. Heck, a few of my friends were arrested, no I wasn’t there, for harrassing ducks in a pond next to the local daycare late one night/early one morning. Rednecks *shrugs*

      • Cajun58

        That’s how we know we have reached a new level of racial equality in the US when African American men start doing the same stupid things that their white counterparts engage in. God I love this country!

  • ktaisa

    you can take a man out the hood but you can’t take the hood out the man…

    • jeremy

      james “bubba” stewart is pretty hood

      • JonB

        snort.

    • tomwito

      You have no idea what you’re talking about, Stewart lives in the middle of nowhere in Florida. Hay fields are not considered hoods and besides that I had a friend get busted for doing the same thing when we were teenagers except he was very, very white.

      • slash5alive

        I understand he has a house in Islesworth, the same “hood” Tiger tore up with his sport ute. It’s a gated high dollar water front development that is famous for the rich and famous.

    • aristurtle

      Yeah, Polk County, FL is exactly what I think of when I think “hood”, if by “hood” you mean “rural farmland”. There’s more cows than people out there.

      Careful not to get that white pointy hood messy while riding.

      • ktaisa

        wow its actually just a phrase. i live right next to chi’s hood and i’m more scared of rural farmland. hoods or hicks, both do stupid shit and will never stop doing stupid shit.

        that make more sense?

        • jeremy

          I think the fact that you used a pretty racially loaded term to describe (inaccurately) Stewart, who is one of a handful of black people involved in professional motorsports, is what people are reacting to. It’s a phrase, used to denigrate inner city minority youth who might be attempting to rise above their lot in life, the fact that it’s a pretty offensive thing to say in general doesn’t really matter since this is a forum on the internet and that’s par for the course, but the fact that it is completely inaccurate in describing James Stewart in every way EXCEPT the color of his skin borders on fucked up.

        • Cajun58

          No could you pull up your hood I might be able to understand you better.

      • Tom

        amen

  • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

    Over on his Facebook page someone posted “We have all done the same thing.” I’ve done some stupid things in my life, but impersonating a police officer isn’t one of them. (It doesn’t count if you made your wife dress up as a police officer, right?)

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      No Harry, that’s totally cool. I think.

      • Cajun58

        It’s even better if you keep it to yourself remember inside thoughts are the best way to go some times.

  • parkwood60

    I think it will blow over, with the net result being a bunch of people saying “There are black people racing motocross?” and like someone said, interest in the sport going up. Was it stupid, yes. Was he busted for pulling a gun on someone in the locker room, or shooting up a strip club, or DUI? No. He’ll pay the fine and do some community service and be done with it.

    • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

      Enh, I dunno. He didn’t hurt anybody, which is good. But it’s really, really stupid, which is not good. It’s a travesty but we send people to prison for being stupid all the time (see: Burress, Plaxico).

      I think this will be about a big a deal as there is in motocross. Should get some national media / espn attention. No such thing as bad publicity?

    • Taco

      Nope. Bubba’s going to sit in the slammer for quite a while. It may seem like no big deal but impersonating a cop is a crazy serious situation.

  • Patrick

    Yeah. This happens a lot but it’s still dumb, and I never could understand the point unless youre wanting to confiscate some kid’s bag of grass. A friend of mine once posed as an irate officer as he kicked in the front door of the guy living next-door to another friend of ours so he could break up the domestic dispute going on. Brandished his pistol and sent the guy on his way. That was equally dumb and felonious, but justified and righteous in my opinion. Lord knows the boys in blue have a reputation for showing up just in time to haul the girl off to the ambulance and just a few min after the guy hits the road.

  • http://www.urbanrider.co.uk UrbanRider

    ‘Thames Jehrrod Quinault’

    I expect he was bullied bad at school.

  • robotribe

    Could have been worse. He could have donned a Batman costume and tried to take out some Cuban drug smugglers in Miami.

    Actually, I take it back. That would have been better.

  • moby grape

    So do we start calling Arthur Ashe “The Tiger Woods of tennis”?..Just asking. The most interesting season of SX in memory just keeps getting better!

  • michael

    I can see the fans at the next event. You won’t be able to see the track through the thousands of flashing blue lights. AWESOME!

  • Myles

    Anyone else find it weird that the punishment for pretend pulling someone over is twice as bad as discharging a firearm in a nightclub?

    Plaxico was only sentenced to two years, people who were caught for this shit have a mean sentence of 50 months? Hot Damn, that’s stupid. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have punishment for impersonating a LEO (or a Capricorn. . . ), but the punishment doesn’t seem to “fit the crime” here.

    • aristurtle

      You need to factor in that accidentally shooting yourself in the ass with your own illegal gun carries a certain amount of its own punishment with it. If Plaxico had hit somebody else rather than himself he’d have gotten significantly more time.

      • Myles

        Respectfully disagree. I’m not one of those “Guns Kill People” hippies who want to ban all firearms (firearm owner, NRA member), but irresponsible handling should hold high punishments. There are no “accidents” with a firearm. There’s safe, and unsafe. He was being ridiculously unsafe and, in my opinion, should be in jail for a ridiculously long time.

        Bubba was just being immature, and his actions had very minor real life potential consequences. What’s the worst that could have happened with Plaxico? Could have killed someone. Bubba? Could have scared someone.

        • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

          Your worst-case scenario for pulling someone over and impersonating a LEO is that he ‘could have scared someone’? What? That’s the BEST case scenario. The worst case is he hurts himself or (worse) someone else. These are ‘minor real-life potential consequences’? Surely not.

          As for Burress, his punishment was unreasonable because it was selective enforcement. In most instances his crime could be plead down and not serve extended jail time, but the DA wanted to get his name in the paper. Irresponsible or not, and regardless of how you feel about punishing stupid behavior, his sentence was not in line with crimes of a similar nature. They made an example out of him.

          • Myles

            How do you hurt someone by turning on lights? It’s unreasonable to expect this prank would cause harm. What is the reasonable example of a professional motorcycle rider maiming himself by pretend pulling someone over?

            It is, however, completely reasonable that a loaded, illelgal, handgun with no safety stored in sweatpants at a nightclub (where all firearms are illegal) kills someone. Here it is, when the gun went off the bullet didn’t hit Plaxico – it hit someone else.

            And I wasn’t speaking about what fits the law and what doesn’t, I was saying that the punishments for both seem illogical to me.

    • Kirill

      Given that Stewart doesn’t have a criminal record (at least none that anyone knows of) and is a celebrity with the money to hire really good representation, he’ll easily get some kind of plea bargain and a slap on the wrist.

      Hell, Plaxico only got two years for a charge that should have gotten at least 3 and a half (illegal possession of a firearm) in a city with some of the toughest gun laws in the country. Its a stupid example. You’d be much better off talking about the unfairness of sentences for simple drug possession.

      Nevermind that sentences rarely have anything to do with the severity of an offense, as can be witnessed by people getting 25-life in CA for non-violent third strikes.

  • mb

    i’ve absolutely done this….we always pulled over cute girls though.

  • Coreyvwc

    I’m surprised he wasn’t holding a can of red bull in his mugshot. There’s no such as bad publicity as they say…

    • Archer

      Who’s “they”?… Monica Lewinsky?

  • Archer

    “Bubba was just being immature, and his actions had very minor real life potential consequences.”

    One of the real life consequences of this sort of thing is the erosion of public confidence, that when they get pulled over the person doing the job is in fact a real LEO.

    This has societial implications that place it higher in the pantheon of redneck idiocy than, say, blowing up frogs with M80′s on a farm pond, or, to bring it back to our two wheel world, launching model rocket motors on a highway from launcher pods mounted on a supersport… examples of which can be viewed on YouTube, by the way.

  • sean

    Dude was using the lights to get through traffic and thats all.

  • Justin

    what a dumbass…

  • Tom

    whatever! Stewart is a legend and i say this form the UK where supercross gets no coverage at all. The guy is a living legend, his style on the dirt is incredible and a joy to watch. I dont know what he was up to that night but it sounds like nobody else does yet – i have a feeling it started out as light hearted humour…we all make little mistakes and get arrested, most of us anyway!

  • DAVID

    Ouch his truck has been seized and forfeited. That’s a 50k fine right off the bat.

  • dux

    He’s no “Tiger Woods of the MX World” to me until he bangs at least 75 cocktail waitresses.

    • Tom

      haha!