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Driver with blue light not a cop, but pulls over one

MANATEE — A motorist with a red-and-blue strobe light on his dash recently chose to turn it on behind the wrong driver: an off-duty Manatee County Sheriff’s detective.

Detective Jeff Lane was recently driving southbound on Interstate 75 just north of the Fruitville Road exit in Sarasota County, when a driver in a black BMW pulled up behind him. Lane says he moved into the center lane to allow the BMW to pass, but the BMW followed him into the center lane at an ever-closer distance — and turned on emergency law enforcement lights.

As Lane moved to the right lane to stop, the driver in the BMW turned off the flashing lights and passed him.

Lane said he could tell the BMW lacked any law enforcement markings and took down the license plate number.

On Tuesday, Lane went to the Manatee County business address of the driver to whom the BMW was registered and introduced himself.

The driver was read his rights, and he admitted operating prohibited blue lights, Lane wrote in his report.

Dennis Woodruff, who lives in Lakewood Ranch and works in the 1000 block of Cortez Road West, was arrested and transported to the Manatee County jail, the report states.

He was charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer and prohibited use of a blue light. He posted a total of $1,120 bond to get out of jail Wednesday.

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 708-7917.

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