Officials: Off-duty Texas guard arrested after making illegal stop

Justin Coats booking photo (Bexar County jail records)
Justin Coats booking photo (Bexar County jail records)

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Bexar County authorities have arrested an off-duty prison guard on a charge of impersonating a public servant after they say he illegally stopped a female motorist.

Sheriff’s officials said in a statement Monday that 31-year-old Justin Coats was arrested a day earlier after a deputy witnessed the stop and pulled over to investigate.

They say Coats was in uniform and armed at the time, adding that as a federal prison guard Coats had no authority to conduct traffic stops.

Coats was driving a Ford Crown Victoria with flashing emergency lights but a sheriff’s spokeswoman said Tuesday investigators are still trying to determine if it’s a law enforcement vehicle or one that was illegally modified.

“As a veteran police officer, it certainly runs chills up your spine thinking about the possibilities. In this instance, he was pulling over a single female in a somewhat remote area,” Sheriff Javier Salazar said during a press conference Monday.

Salazar said Coats was pulling the woman over for being intoxicated, but it is not believed that she actually was.

Coats is no longer being held at the county jail and a listed phone number could not be found for him.

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