The owner of a north Forsyth car dealership has been accused of posing as a member of law enforcement during a recent roadside confrontation.
Charles McElroy Turner, 41, of Lumpkin County has been charged by the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office with impersonating a police officer and two counts of false imprisonment.
Sheriff's Maj. Dan Jagoe said Turner, who owns Corporate Auto Brokers on Browns Bridge Road, was arrested last month following an investigation of allegations made against him by two teenage girls.
The teens, ages 17 and 16, reported that Turner flashed a Lumpkin County Sheriff's Office badge at them Jan. 22 after they pulled out of a grocery store parking lot on Hwy. 306.
Jagoe said the car the teens apparently got too close to Turner's white van, which was marked on the side with his company logo.
The symbol is a seven-pointed star with the state seal that looks similar to a police badge.
Turner was arrested Jan. 28 and released later the same day after posting $16,830 bond, according to Forsyth County Detention Center records.
Turner characterized the matter as a "misunderstanding" and said he was trying to resolve a "road rage situation."
He deferred further comment to his attorney, Brian Hansford.
Although the case is in its early stages, Hansford said it "appears it was an unfortunate misunderstanding between the parties and we hope to get it resolved."
According to a sheriff's report, Turner pulled in front of the girls and stopped. He got out, showed a badge and apparently told them what they had done was illegal.
He also reportedly asked them if they wanted a ticket.
"It scared these young ladies and, of course, they responded no," Jagoe said.
He said one of the girls' parents contacted the sheriff's office, concerned that a deputy had acted inappropriately.
"We checked with Lumpkin County and found out he is not one of their deputies, he is not authorized to carry a badge and he is not employed by them," Jagoe said.
He explained that law enforcement paraphernalia is not illegal to buy and that many people collect it. Using it to impersonate an officer, however, is an offense authorities take seriously.
Spokesman Darren Martin with the Lumpkin County Sheriff's Office said Turner has never been employed by the agency.
"He had volunteered his time as well as his helicopter on maybe half a dozen times to where he had flown for missing persons or something of that nature," he said.
The only two items Turner has been issued by the office are a portable radio and an identification badge, similar to a driver's license, that clearly states he is a volunteer, Martin said.