For impersonating an officer, he’ll play a real prisoner

Published 1:03 pm Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Staff report

BEAUMONT — For David Roy Matthews Jr., the aftermath of Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey last September provided the perfect backdrop for posing as a first-responder.

But Texas law enforcement and the state courts didn’t play along.

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Mathews, 33, was sentenced this week to six years in jail for his multiple impersonations as a peace officer, fire marshal, Marine veteran, emergency medical technician, firefighter and constable.

Judge John Stevens on Monday imposed sentence on Matthews, who pleaded guilty in 2017.

At times during Harvey rescue efforts, Matthews wore a Houston Fire Department shirt, carried handcuffs and wore a holstered handgun. His personal vehicle, a black Chevrolet Impala with emergency lights in the front windshield, appeared to be an unmarked police vehicle.

Prosecutors said Matthews responded to several fire and EMS calls during Harvey while driving county vehicles and fire trucks, endangering the public and other emergency personnel.

They said alert DPS troopers on special assignment to Jefferson County observed Matthews and became suspicious, discussed their suspicions with other officials who had worked with Matthews, and after questioning him and conducting a background check, discovered Matthews had a prior arrest in Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana, for false personation of a peace officer.

“We would like to recognize the excellent work of the DPS Troopers, who were dispatched from other regions of Texas to assist Jefferson County law enforcement during a very difficult time for our community,” said Assistant District Attorney Michael Morgan, who prosecuted the case.