A local private investigator has been charged with three felonies for impersonating a U.S. Marshal, including detaining a woman and her child, police said.
Darrell Heady, who has operated Marshall Investigations, based in Greenwood, was arrested this week on two felony charges of impersonating a public servant and an additional charge of criminal confinement, according to court documents.
The investigation started in November, when a Brown County sheriff’s deputy filed a police report with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office about an incident that had happened in Trafalgar one night. While investigating that, a Greenwood police officer who also works as a U.S. Marshal learned of a second incident of suspected impersonation, this time involving a woman and her son who were detained by a man who said he was a U.S. Marshal when the two got into a traffic dispute while driving on State Road 135.
What the charges mean for the status of Heady’s license as a private investigator and his business is unclear.
Heady is the owner of Marshall Private Investigations, which has been licensed by the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency since 2007, state records show. If he is convicted, the agency will consider that when the company license comes up for renewal in 2019, said Julia Camara, spokeswoman for the agency.
His license as an individual private investigator would be addressed if a consumer complaint is brought to the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, Camara said.
In November, a Brown County sheriff’s deputy reported that a minivan pulled into his parents’ driveway and drove to the rear of the home one night, then left.
The deputy and his wife decided to follow the van to a nearby church parking lot and said that the driver of the minivan parked next to a car, turned on a spotlight in the car and pulled out pepper spray on him. They also noted that red and blue lights came on in the grill of the car, according to a probable cause affidavit said.
When the deputy identified himself as an off-duty deputy, the driver identified himself as being with the Marshals Service and flashed a badge. The man told the deputy he was searching for a man who had run by the deputy’s parents’ house.
The deputy took down the car license plate and had dispatchers check the number, knowing it would not return to an individual if it was a police or U.S. Marshals vehicle. The plate returned as registered to Heady, and the deputy reported the incident to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.
An FBI special agent and the Greenwood police officer went to Heady’s home to discuss the incident. He told the investigators that he did not pull out pepper spray and said the deputy and his wife were lying about lights on the vehicle, the affidavit said.
In February, a woman called police to report that she had been stopped on State Road 135 at Smokey Row Road after a traffic dispute. She told investigators that she was the third car in line stopped at a traffic light and when the light turned green, the vehicle behind her honked at her to go, and she raised her arms to indicate that she had heard the honk and was driving. The vehicle that had honked at her started tailgating her and driving erratically, such as by pulling into the lane next to her and honking and yelling at her, the affidavit said.
He continued to tailgate her, and then he drove into oncoming traffic, honked, yelled at her to pull over and showed her a badge, the affidavit said. The driver, a 32-year-old Bargersville woman, thought the man was an off-duty police officer and she pulled into a parking lot, the affidavit said.
The man demanded her driver’s license and registration, and when she questioned why, since he was not in a police uniform or a marked vehicle, he showed her the badge and said he was a U.S. Marshal, the affidavit said. She gave him the documents and he made a phone call, telling a person to run the plate, court documents said. He came back to her vehicle and threatened to arrest her, and the two got into an argument regarding the incident. He then told her to follow him to the jail so he could arrest her, the documents said.
When she asked what she was supposed to do with her son, who was in the backseat, he told her she would instead get a ticket in the mail, the affidavit said.
The incident bothered the woman, and she called police two hours later to make a report. Police checked to see if the driver could have been a member of the U.S. Marshals task force, and described the driver. The description matched that of Heady, so the marshal had police arrange a photo line-up, and the woman identified the photo of Heady as the man who had stopped her, the affidavit said.
The investigators again contacted Heady, and he said the woman was lying, the affidavit said.
Heady, 63, of 3997 Jason Ave., Franklin, was arrested on Wednesday morning and booked into the Johnson County jail. He posted bond and was released.