Two-time AMA Supercross champion James Stewart Jr. was arrested on charges of impersonating a police officer Monday near his home in central Florida.
On Wednesday, Stewart issued a public statement, addressing for the first time his Monday night arrest. "Thanks to all that are standing by me," Stewart said in the release. "I hope to resolve this incident quickly and show people that I am someone that upholds the law and someone they can respect as a competitor and as a person." According to the release, Stewart is planning to compete in this weekend's Supercross race in Arlington, Texas.
A spokesperson for the Florida Highway Patrol said Stewart, 25, who is known as "Bubba," was driving a black 2008 Toyota Tundra on State Road 417 in Osceola County when he approached a car containing two off-duty Florida state troopers and an off-duty Osceola County sheriff's deputy.
Police said Stewart turned on red-and-blue flashing lights on his dashboard and the off-duty officers pulled to the side of the road. When the truck pulled alongside their vehicle, one of the troopers in the car identified himself as law enforcement, and Stewart sped off, police said.
The off-duty trooper phoned 911, and a short time later an Orange County Sheriff's deputy and Orlando Police officer pulled over the truck driven by Stewart at Orlando International Airport. Stewart and his passenger, 44-year-old Quinalt Thames Jehrrod of Los Angeles, were arrested. Police said they found the lights in Jehrrod's luggage.
Sergeant Kim Montes of the Florida Highway Patrol said Stewart told officers he bought the lights at a flea market.
Stewart was charged with impersonating a police officer and Jehrrod was charged with tampering with evidence. Both charges are felonies.
Stewart's truck was seized.
Both Stewart and Jehrrod posted bond and were released from the Orange County Jail at approximately 2:45 a.m. Tuesday. Video from a Florida news station shows Stewart walking from the Orange County jail wearing a gray hoodie and a baseball cap pulled low over his face.According to a report in the Orlando Sentinel several people were waiting for Stewart when he was released. He was whisked away by his parents in a white Range Rover.
A message left on Stewart's cell phone Tuesday afternoon was not immediately returned.Stewart grew up in Haines City, about 30 miles south of Orlando, and is featured on his own reality program on FUEL TV called "Bubba's World". He is a two-time AMA Supercross Series champion (2007, 2009), and in 2008 he won an AMA Motocross Championship with an undefeated season. At the X Games in 2009, Stewart finished second in the Moto X Best Whip competition. Last weekend, Stewart competed in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross event in Toronto and finished fourth. He ranks fourth in this season's Supercross standings. The next race in the series is April 2 in Arlington, Texas.