Man pulled over for speeding claims to be Chicago cop

Timothy Shanahan

GOSHEN — An Illinois man was arrested after allegedly claiming to be a retired Chicago Police officer when he was pulled over for speeding.

Timothy Shanahan, 51, of New Lenox, Illinois, was arrested Sunday and charged with impersonating a police officer, a Level 6 felony. He was also charged with making a false identity statement with the intention of misleading a public servant and possession of drug paraphernalia, both misdemeanors.

He was booked in the Elkhart County Correctional Facility on $3,000 bond. His initial court hearing was set for Friday.

According to court documents:

An off-duty officer with the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office was driving westbound on U.S. 20, approaching C.R. 21, around 2:41 p.m. when he saw a white SUV in the eastbound lane speeding and passing other cars recklessly. He activated his radar system, which showed the vehicle going 75 mph in a 50 mph zone, then performed a traffic stop on the vehicle.

Before the patrolman could ask the driver for his license and registration, Shanahan displayed a Chicago Police retirement badge. He said he was a retired officer and was on his way to LaGrange to pick up his stranded parents.

He also claimed that he didn’t have a license because he lost it from a previous charge of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. He gave his name as Daniel Shanahan and his date of birth as April 23, 1971.

Shanahan gave the information hesitantly, as if he had to try very hard to remember it. The officer found the behavior odd in response to a simple question.

While he was running the name and vehicle information through the system, the officer noticed Shanahan display other behavior that was unusual for a retired police officer, such as getting out of the vehicle multiple times during a traffic stop. The patrolman then asked the passenger her name.

After giving it, she looked at Shanahan and added, “And that’s my real name.” 

After learning that Shanahan had given a false name, the officer put him in handcuffs and asked him again, with the warning that he would go to jail if he lied. He gave the same name and date of birth, but an ID card in his wallet gave his name as Timothy Shanahan.

He admitted that the retired Chicago Police badge belongs to his stepfather, who he claimed gave it to him. He still claimed to have been a Chicago officer himself but said he was fired for using cocaine.

He also admitted that the name and date of birth he gave were his brother’s.

A metal pipe fell out of his sock while he was being searched. He claimed it was for marijuana use but it tested positive for cocaine.

The sheriff’s office later called Shanahan’s uncle. The man said he never gave it to him and that Shanahan was never an officer.

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