What happens when you pass an unmarked patrol car traveling at 120 miles per hour? You go to jail.
A Johnston County Sheriff’s Office SAFE Team deputy assigned an unmarked Ford Mustang GT was eastbound on the Highway 70 Clayton Bypass around 10:50pm Saturday night. Using his radar, the deputy clocked a black Lincoln speeding 86 MPH in a 70 MPH zone. The deputy turned around and began traveling westbound to overtake the Lincoln to issue the driver a ticket.
While the deputy was still trying to overtake the Lincoln, the officer was passed in the westbound lanes by a BMW convertible that he clocked at 120 miles per hour as it went by. The BMW then began weaving in and out of traffic as it continued to speed away.
The deputy abandoned trying to stop the Lincoln and instead turned his attention towards the BMW. He overtook the BMW near the Wake County line and stopped the driver, who was very surprised to see blue lights and learn the Mustang was an unmarked deputy sheriff.
37 year-old Christopher Lee Prather of Raleigh reportedly told the deputy he saw the Mustang pass by him and decided he wanted to race. When the deputy explained he was trying to overtake a speeding Lincoln, Prather reportedly said, “I just got them out of a ticket.”
Prather ended up with several tickets including speeding, reckless driving, and carrying a concealed gun. An AK-47 rifle was located in his convertible.
Prather was released on a $2,000 bond.
In January 2019, while traveling on I-95 the unmarked Mustang clocked a car traveling 135 MPH in a 65 MPH zone. The 24 year-old driver of a new $120,000 BMW M6 was ticketed. The driver unsuccessfully argued for the ticket to be lowered to 110 MPH, saying he wanted to become a police officer one day.
The unmarked Mustang was added to the patrol fleet in August 2018 by Sheriff Steve Bizzell as a way to promote highway safety.