James “Bubba” Stewart, a supercross icon in the midst of a post-injury comeback, was arrested Monday in his home state of Florida and charged with impersonating an officer.
Stewart, a former champion who is widely regarded as the sport’s fastest rider, was behind the wheel of a 2008 Toyota Tundra pickup and, according state troopers, attempted to pull over over another vehicle by using red-and-blue flashing lights placed on the dashboard. This occurred at about 5 p.m.
In that other vehicle were two off-duty Florida Highway Patrol troopers. They identified themselves when Stewart pulled alongside their vehicle, and dialed “911″ after Stewart sped away.
Stewart, 25, who is in fourth place in the race for this year’s AMA Supercross Series championship, was pulled over by police and a deputy sheriff at Orlando International Airport.
Stewart and his passenger, Quinault Thames Jehrrod, were subsequently booked. Jehrrod, who is from California, was charged with tampering with evidence after stashing the red-and-blue lights in his luggage, troopers said.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Stewart was released at about 2:50 a.m. He was greeted by several people and whisked away in a white Ranger Rover. It remains unclear why the incident occurred. A spokesman for Red Bull, which is Stewart’s primary sponsor, declined to comment.
Stewart in 2002 was named AMA Supercross and Motocross Rookie of the Year in his debut pro season. He won back-to-back supercross and motocross titles in 2004 and through his career claimed a combined seven titles. In 2008 he became only the second motocross racer to enjoy a perfect season, winning every moto, in claiming the AMA Motocross championship.
In 2003, Stewart was named by Teen People as one of “20 teens who will change the world.” He’s presently starring in the FuelTv reality series, “Bubba’s World.”
The rider was sidelined most of last season because of injuries. There are five competitions remaining on this year’s supercross circuit. The next event is Saturday in Arlington, Texas.
– Images: Police mug shot (top) and action photo, courtesy of Motocross.com.