San Diego Deputy Impersonator’s Pending Jail Release Scares Victims

A man sentenced to jail for impersonating a deputy and pulling over San Diego County drivers is getting out of jail, and his victims are feeling uneasy about him possibly getting back out on the road.

“He was like flashing his high beams, swerving, speeding up. I thought he was going to do something like crash into me,” Alicia Engel told NBC 7.

Michael Carmichael tried to pull Engel over near Camp Pendleton last year. She thought something was off, so instead of pulling over, she called 911.

“It was a Camry and it was … the lights were not on top of the car, they were in his windshield it looked almost like a toy,” Engel said.

Engel and other victims think Carmichael was up to his scheme for at least three months before law enforcement discovered him. In mid-June 2021, Carmichael crashed his car and ran from police, and was later arrested. A search of his home and car in Ocenaside uncovered replica pistols, brass knuckles, a knife and utility belt, as well as a black jacket and vest with sheriff patches. In his holster was an air pistol, not a lethal firearm.

Carmichael was charged with 10 felony counts in connection with seven traffic stops he allegedly made impersonating a police officer. He pleaded guilty to just two charges stemming from the June incident.

Engel said she showed up to the North County courthouse on September 27, the date of Carmichael’s sentencing but wasn’t present for the actual hearing. She got there at the right time, but was told the hearing was in a different courtroom in the building, and by the time she got to the right courtroom, it was too late.

“I wanted to relay to them the fear I was going through that night. So they could see the effect this has had,” she said.

Engel was on her way to an overnight shift as a home care nurse. She said the experience frightened her and led her to stop driving at night and change her work schedule.

“The system did not take us into consideration and I am scared for the safety of the people driving at night,” Engel said.

Carmichael’s release from jail Thursday comes along with three years probation with several restrictions, including no driving privileges.

Engel said this is the second time a police impersonator tried to pull her over. The first time happened in Murrieta last year. That case ended in a plea agreement as well.

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