Justice: Police Drop Charges After Arresting Wrong Challenger Driver

Illustration for article titled Justice: Police Drop Charges After Arresting Wrong Challenger Driver

Today we bring you an update to yesterday’s story about a Good Samaritan motorist who caught a speeding Dodge Challenger on his dash cam, only to watch police arrest and charge the driver of a different Challenger: the wrongfully-arrested driver has been released and the charges have been dropped.


“Mr. Sarge”, the Camaro5 forum user whose dash cam unexpectedly captured a false arrest in the Detroit area on Friday afternoon, said he met with Allen Park Police detectives today to show them his video.

He said he explained his side of the story and was told that the reckless driving charges would be dropped against the Challenger driver seen in his video.


“I feel pretty great about it,” Mr. Sarge told Jalopnik. In Michigan a reckless driving charge can be punished by up to 93 days in jail.

Allen Park Police Lt. Dave Williams confirmed that the charges had been dropped against the other motorist, whose name has not been released.

Williams said that when the officer was in pursuit of the speeding Challenger on Friday, he lost sight of it, and when traffic became congested near Michigan Avenue, he saw a Challenger pass traffic on the right side and assumed that was his suspect.

Williams said the other driver admitted to passing on the shoulder but nothing else. He was arrested and later posted bail.


“It was a divine mix-up,” Williams said.

After Mr. Sarge posted the video to the Camaro5 forum, other users quickly realized police had arrested the wrong black Challenger — they had been pursuing a newer black or dark gray Scat Pack and pulled over an older black and silver R/T.


But repeated attempts to get police to view the video were met with failure. Mr. Sarge said the arresting officer told him he was sure he arrested the right suspect and didn’t need the video. When he pressed further, he said he could file a citizens’ complaint that would be reviewed by the chief.

Then Jalopnik made calls to the department and spoke to a detective who said he wanted to see the video. Mr. Sarge said he did that today — and also got an apology from the arresting officer.


“He said he should have taken my information,” Mr. Sarge said. “I appreciated that.”

In a statement, department officials said that the Challenger driver’s bond and impound fees would also be reimbursed.


The Camaro-driving dash cam warrior for justice said he’s just happy to help, and that he didn’t do it alone.

“I want to thank all my forum people who helped figure out that it was the wrong guy,” he said, “and I want to thank you guys for getting the video out there.”


Williams added that he was glad Mr. Sarge brought the footage to his attention as well.

“I’m glad he came forward so we could get this cleared up,” he said. “We’re not in the business of wrongfully accusing anybody.”


This story has been updated to clarify the maximum sentence for reckless driving in Michigan.

Contact the author at patrick@jalopnik.com.

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Frustrates me how “sure” that the arresting officer was that he caught the “right guy”