A man is behind bars, accused of impersonating a police officer. He was caught after the women he tried to pull over grew suspicious of his actions and called 911.
It happened around 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon near milepost 262 on Interstate 5.
Police arrested Camerino Ortega-Espinosa shortly after the incident, and when they found him, police say he was armed with a loaded semi-automatic pistol.
FOX 12 spoke with the woman Ortega-Espinosa pulled over. To protect her identity, she asked only to be identified by her first name, Shannon.
Shannon said when she saw all of the blue and red lights in her review mirror Saturday, she pulled over to the side of the road.
She rolled down the passenger window and expected to see a police officer. Instead, she saw the suspect in plain clothes.
At first, Shannon says she thought the man outside of her window was an undercover officer looking for someone in a Honda Civic similar to what she was driving.
But then when Ortega-Espinosa spoke to her in only Spanish, she knew something wasn't right.
"I said, 'Excuse me, can I see a badge or ID?' and that's when he showed me he had a weapon,'" Shannon said.
"I said I was going to call police, and then he said, ‘I am the Salem police.'"
Shannon says she grabbed her cell phone and called 911. She was using her Bluetooth, so the suspect was able to hear her conversation with dispatchers.
Ortega-Espinosa then ran back to his truck and sped off southbound on I-5.
"I definitely became fearful of this, that and other things, and it was really once he pulled away that I broke down in tears and had a meltdown on the phone with dispatchers," said Shannon.
Police found the suspect quickly after the incident because Shannon was also able to take down the license plate of his Ford F150.
Investigators pulled from his holster a loaded 40-caliber semi-automatic pistol that had one round in the chamber.
They also found clear red lights on each side of his rearview mirror, along with a red bubble light, according to court documents.
Shannon says she's grateful she thought to call 911 when she did but can't help to think about what would have happened if she didn't.
"My daughter could have been in car. I could have been defenseless. I could have sat there. If he had demanded something, I probably would have done it. ... He had a gun," Shannon said.
Court documents say that when questioned, Camerino Ortega-Espinosa told investigators that he thought that Shannon was speeding, and he wanted to make sure she wasn't drunk.
He is due back in court June 27.
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