NEWS RELEASE                                             

For Immediate Release
April 15, 2009
Contact: Michele Nicholson
Public Information Officer
  (850) 651-7420


     A Fort Walton Beach man with a revoked license who is designated as a habitual traffic offender faces new charges after he was spotted by an Okaloosa County Sheriff's Deputy driving down the road with flashing white and blue lights on his vehicle.

     Lt. Arnold Brown was at the intersection of Wellington Road and South Avenue on Friday, April 10th, when he saw what he thought was an emergency vehicle approaching with flashing white and blue lights. Vehicles traveling in the opposite direction were pulling off the roadway to yield to the oncoming car. The driver however slammed on his brakes when he noticed Lt. Brown's patrol car.

    Lt. Brown noticed that the blue mini-van was a privately-owned vehicle. The driver, 22-year old Erick Stewart Berkowitz of 823 Lark Street in Fort Walton Beach, pulled into a nearby driveway and Lt. Brown made a citizens contact with him. The van had three simulated antenna's taped to the luggage rack and homemade lights attached to the rear view mirror. Berkowtiz denied simulating an emergency vehicle, however along with the antennas and flashing strobe lights,  he also had a blue LED light affixed to the visor and a security officer's badge on a neck chain on the passenger's seat.

    A driver's license check revealed Berkowitz's license was revoked and he had been designated a Habitual Traffic Offender on February 5, 2008.

    Berkowitz is now charged with operating a motor vehicle while his DL is revoked as habitual traffic offender and prohibited use of certain lights; blue and white.