A note from the author and editors: The following story is at times extremely outrageous and darkly funny, but we also want to take a moment to acknowledge that we’re publishing this piece in the midst of our country’s ongoing and devastating crisis of police violence, particularly against Black Americans. This article is not directly related to recent examples of that violence, but the rage-fueled encounters detailed within it do reflect how quickly authority — real or imagined — can go to one’s head. We’ve decided to share the story with you so that it may serve as a lens into power and (dubious) accountability, at a time when the privilege of control and dominance can have such dire and deadly consequences.
The driver of a Porsche in Central Florida was minding his own business one day in June 2018 when he approached what appeared to be the tail end of a funeral procession. He wove around a white patrol motorcycle and then eased to a stop in a line of traffic. Moments later, the motorcycle wound through two lanes of vehicles and pulled up next to him. The driver, a stocky and strong-looking guy in his late 30s, was wearing a uniform shirt with a badge and a duty belt with a baton, handcuffs and radio. Lettering on his motorcycle indicated he was with an agency called Metro State.
“You must’ve missed that it’s 45 through there and you used the turning lane to cut through traffic,” the officer said, leaning over to the Porsche’s driver side window.
The driver scrutinized him and his motorcycle.
“Are you a cop?” he asked.
“Don’t worry about what I am ’cause I’m a state agent. So, what you need to do is make sure you’re doing the right thing, fuck boy!”
The driver rolled his eyes and drove away but saw in his rearview mirror that the man on the bike began pursuit. He followed the Porsche at high speed for several miles under bridges, past shopping centers and through multiple neighborhoods.
“Come on, bitch! Get out of your fucking car!” he yelled when he caught up with the driver at a traffic light. “Let’s go! Let’s go! Come on! Fuck boy! I’m calling you out, bitch!”
They exchanged a few more threats but the driver never got out of his car, and ultimately sped off, pissed — and completely baffled — by the encounter. It turned out he was not alone in his confusion.
Jeremey Dewitte confronts the driver of a Porsche during a Florida funeral procession.
Similar interactions with Metro State officers were taking place all over Central Florida, especially with the man on the bike, Metro State’s founder and “Motor One,” Jeremy Dewitte. Given the agent’s outfit and the imperious nature of his commands, drivers were consistently surprised to learn Metro State was not any kind of law enforcement agency, but rather a civilian business that escorts funeral processions.
While funeral processions are generally somber affairs, their long and slow-moving nature sometimes leads to traffic accidents. A funeral escort’s job is to make sure mourners arrive safely at the cemetery, typically by heading up the front and rear of the procession and sometimes driving ahead to let other drivers know that a procession is coming through. Metro State agents took their duty extremely seriously, to say the least — the company’s cars and motorcycles were known to descend like shrieking banshees down roads and into intersections, where they’d direct traffic and pull people over, generally with lights and sirens ablaze and agents unafraid to assert their authority to drivers who ignored their directions.
“Sit tight, sir!” Dewitte said in a separate incident where the driver of a silver truck refused to heed his directions. “Hey, FUCK BOY! Hey, piece of SHIT FUCK BOY! MOTHERFUCKING FUCK BOY!”
Scenes like this didn’t just antagonize the baffled drivers and seriously challenge the dead’s ability to rest in peace (even if they did arrive at the cemetery safely). They also made Metro State well-known to Central Florida’s sanctioned law enforcement agencies. Dewitte had already served time for impersonating law enforcement years earlier, and in the fall of 2019, following three serious interactions between the company and police in just over a month, authorities decided it was time to act.
Using Metro State’s insistence on verisimilitude against them, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office got a warrant for the footage from bodycams worn by Dewitte and the rest of the company’s agents and obtained almost a terabyte of footage that captured the above incidents and many more like it. It turned out investigators were only beginning to untangle the wild saga of Jeremy Dewitte and Metro State, surely the most enthusiastic funeral escort business in the world.
Born in 1980, Jeremy Dewitte was fascinated with law enforcement from an early age, an interest perhaps inspired by the fact that his father had a criminal record and his mother owned and operated a licensed private security company. In high school, Dewitte enrolled in a “police explorer” program offered by the local police department that provided young people with firsthand experience of what it’s like to be an officer.
In May of 1998, a few months after he turned 18, Dewitte pulled up to a Mobil gas station in Orlando, driving a car with a blue light in the front windshield and an antenna on the back, and pumped $14.50 worth of gas. He told the cashier he had no way to pay for the gas, but that he was an officer and would come back to pay later. Police tracked him down at his home a few weeks later.
“Jeremy, you’re a fucking liar, you told me [a different gas station] was the last one!” his stepfather yelled as Dewitte was led away. Dewitte was charged with felony impersonation, unfortunate at such an early age, since a felony record made it impossible for him to ever actually become a police officer.
Following this, Dewitte worked for a while as a security guard at an apartment complex, where he was reported for illegally detaining and searching a resident. He was known to make untrue claims that he was in the Special Forces and had parachuted into battle in the Middle East to defuse bombs — and frequently wore the military fatigues and medals to prove it. He would go on to be cited a few more times for impersonating an officer of the law, including another charge of felony impersonation in 2001.
A few years after he was released from custody for the impersonation arrest, Dewitte chanced upon an alarming automobile accident that would reshape his life. In a video uploaded to his YouTube channel, Dewitte describes how he saw a vehicle with flashing lights leading a funeral procession through an intersection. Suddenly, one of the cars was hit. Dewitte ran up to help the trapped driver. He says the experience inspired him to start his own business to help protect funeral processions — and he was apparently determined to create the best funeral escort business there ever was.
As it happened, Dewitte says he came into some money from a car accident settlement, and he launched Metro State in the early 2010s as a funeral/VIP/charity event escort service. He hired a small staff and bought Dodge Chargers at police auctions, plus equipment off the internet. Eventually, the fleet would grow to include SUVs, motorcycles and even an ambulance.
Starting the business was actually a pretty good idea, says Nick Kuluva, assistant executive director of the National Funeral Escort Association, as the private funeral escort industry is surprisingly robust and has grown steadily nationwide over the past decade. Police departments, which have traditionally provided escorts, often don’t have the time or manpower to continue doing them, leaving private companies to take their place. The average escort generally starts at around $400 and can go up depending on the number of cars in the procession; a large metropolitan area like Orlando can have multiple escorts per day, Kuluva says. At the time Metro State was founded, there were hardly any competitors, and Dewitte was in a good location for the business — Florida is one of the more permissive states in the country when it comes to civilian funeral escorting (plus, it has a disproportionate number of older residents, which likely makes for more business than other locales). Moreover, given Dewitte’s criminal record, funeral escorting was one of the only authority-adjacent positions he could legally have.
While many of the videos of Dewitte tend to give the impression that he was operating under his own set of rules, correspondence from early on in Metro State’s existence shows that the company met with law enforcement agencies and the city’s legal department a few times to discuss the exact scope of what they could do. Dewitte relied on a careful interpretation of Florida Statute 316.1974 to back up his company’s approach. This subsection of state traffic laws does grant funeral escorts some minor driving privileges, such as being able to continue through a red light if the lead vehicle makes it through before the light changes. More important, perhaps, it doesn’t specifically say what funeral escorts cannot do. The law doesn’t prohibit funeral escorts from wearing uniforms with badges, for example, or decking out vehicles with radios and flashing purple lights and decals that say “VEHICLE PROTECTION UNIT,” or even an insignia that looks strikingly similar to the California State Highway Patrol’s, which all of Metro State’s vehicles had.
“It’s about looking the part — the more professional you look, the more people will give you that professional respect you’re looking for,” Dewitte says in an interview with YouTuber “Blue Bacon,” who’d later become one of his primary online antagonists.
To Dewitte, the distinction between Metro State’s vehicles and those of law enforcement was clear. Metro State went with black and white vehicles because no Florida law enforcement agency uses that color scheme, he explains, and his agents wore high-visibility or gray shirts — a clear distinction from Florida’s road patrols, which typically wear white shirts. While civilian use of sirens is prohibited (earning a traffic citation, not an impersonation charge, as Dewitte notes), any Florida driver would be able to distinguish sirens for emergency and non-emergency non-civilian service vehicles, like those of tow trucks and funeral escorts.
As a bulletin circulated by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office begrudgingly put it, Metro State’s “uniforms and vehicles … give the appearance of a law enforcement officer and it is misleading to some individuals, however, their appearance alone does not meet the criteria for Falsely personating [sic] [an] officer.”
Dewitte prided himself on escorting funerals that other companies would not, and Metro State received many glowing reviews over the course of doing what Dewitte’s longtime attorney Amir Ladan says were thousands of escorts. “Whether a [drug] dealer or not, [a mother] is entitled to her last few minutes with her son to that final resting place,” Dewitte says in the Blue Bacon interview.
On the other hand, the company started racking up tickets almost immediately, with Metro State agents speeding down the wrong side of the road, weaving in and out of traffic, and screaming at drivers as a matter of course.
Another confrontational encounter between Dewitte and a motorist.
Dewitte routinely paid his and the company’s fines and continued operating the business more or less unhindered. He abided by Statute 316.1974, which, in his mind, meant he was a “state-certified” agency — and one endowed with the sacred duty of protecting mourners at one of the worst points in their life.
“Listen, motherfucker, I know what I’m allowed to do and what I’m not allowed to do,” he told one driver who told him to stop pretending to be a police officer. “What you need to do is figure it the fuck out before you start talking shit!”
It is unclear why Dewitte was so fixated on acting like a police officer: Unresolved issues from having a criminal father? An almost childlike defense mechanism? Outright sociopathy? Some combination of the three?
Academic literature on police impersonation is sparse, but those who have studied the phenomenon report that one of the biggest concerns with law enforcement impersonators, regardless of their intent, is how they will react when their identity is questioned. Some may cave when confronted by real authority, while others double down on the power they believe they wield, lashing out at those who challenge them.
That is what the Orange County Sheriff’s Office was worried about when it came to Dewitte. Sergeant Keith Vidler, a career officer who’d earned a Medal of Valor for responding to the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016, had encountered Dewitte enough times over the course of Metro State’s operations that they’d developed an antagonistic, first-name-basis relationship. Sgt. Vidler was usually the point of contact any time a law enforcement agency interacted with Dewitte, and he and his partner Corporal John Ramsey began building a serious case against Dewitte in late summer 2019. No matter the incident, Vidler had an addendum ready-written to paste into reports of interactions with Metro State that made it clear where he stood. Metro State “is nothing more than an LLC with no enforcement powers or occupational license to operate in Orange County,” he wrote. “Metro State, owned by Jeremy Charles Dewitte, is NOT a security company and never has been.”
The investigation found the whole enterprise was sketchy from its inception. Despite having been operating since the early 2010s, Metro State wasn’t even registered as an LLC until February 2019, and it was never registered as a security company with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which state law requires. Documents related to the business were signed by a “Jermy Deweit” or “Jermy Dewiit,” suggesting deliberate attempts to muddy the official record. And a retiree who rented Dewitte a property to store his vehicles and fronted him money to buy a tow truck said he never got any payment for rent or the truck, and one day found the lock on his personal onsite office had been changed by Dewitte after he took it over.
Dewitte himself had a murky past, no matter how he tried to spin it. In 2005, he’d been charged with lewd and lascivious battery involving a minor, the daughter of a friend. Dewitte served 10 months for the offense and was required to register as a sex offender (and would later serve another long sentence for violating the probation conditions of this arrest). Dewitte’s half-brother and early Metro State employee Dylan Vogt had his own dicey past involving interactions with the law and sexual indiscretions that mirrored Dewitte’s, while another agent, flashing a badge and allegedly wearing a tactical vest and carrying a rifle, once went with two other Metro State employees to strongarm the owner of a hookah bar into giving them $1,000 he allegedly owed them. Another employee was arrested in 2014 for a scheme that involved illegal refunds for energy drinks at his former job as a gas station clerk (he claims he spent some of the money he pocketed on food for the homeless). The same guy later stole items from Metro State’s offices and sold them on eBay, only to rip off buyers. Yet another agent was arrested for cleaning a rifle in a laundromat.
Then came the spate of incidents in the fall of 2019. In early September, Dewitte was arrested by the Windermere Police Department for impersonation and cited by the suburban Winter Park Police Department for using sirens and driving 70 to 80 miles per hour within town limits. Then, just over a week later, he banged on the hood of a civilian vehicle during a funeral escort; the car turned out to belong to an off-duty police officer. The officer reported the interaction and a swarm of vehicles surrounded the Metro State crew, leading to the arrest of a Metro State agent and Dewitte getting a thorough talking-to. Later the same day, Dewitte was arrested when a woman called the police on a Metro State vehicle that followed her with sirens blaring before taking over an intersection.
Dewitte mentioned offhandedly during one of these encounters that he kept footage from body cameras in his office in case of any complaints that might arise from encounters with motorists. That prompted a judge to issue a search warrant for the bodycam footage, which was shared among the jurisdictions in which these interactions took place. Officers tracked down many of the people Dewitte had interacted with to get their statements and began compiling evidence for charging him.
The series of interactions would lead Dewitte to be arrested for impersonation that October. In a recorded interrogation, Cpl. Ramsey shows Dewitte a video taken from his bodycam during a funeral procession the month before.
“That’s not even my voice,” Dewitte says in the interrogation, despite the footage having been taken from his own bodycam and his reflection being visible in the car’s window.
He then asks why he’s being shown the video.
“You asked me to prove you were impersonating an officer,” Ramsay says.
“But I’m not impersonating … we’re not running sirens!”
“Did you not hear the sirens? Do you want me to show you another video of you pushing cars off the road?” the officer replies. “I’ve gotta be honest with you — I don’t know how you’re still alive.”
Dewitte bonded out and attempted to lodge a complaint against Vidler, who he said was orchestrating a campaign of harassment against him. “This is Jeremy Dewitte — I’m known as the biggest piece of shit in Orange County,” he told the bewildered staff member who answered his call when he phoned to lodge the complaint.
Sgt. Vidler was unyielding in his investigation of Dewitte. He was known to have prowled around Metro State’s office and looked through its windows. And at one point he went as far as to call Dewitte’s auto insurance company, when he found out Dewitte did not have commercial insurance for the vehicles but rather had insured them through his personal insurance — an illegal move that caused him to lose his insurance altogether, which Vidler cited Dewitte for the next time he pulled him over.
Metro State stayed in operation as the case against Dewitte moved forward in the courts. The year 2019 came to a close with a beatific Dewitte and other Metro State agents even making an appearance as mock EMTs at a WWE NXT event, hauling out a (not really) injured wrestler and putting him in the waiting ambulance — which proudly showed the name Metro State to the world. Soon enough, however, Dewitte would get more attention than he bargained for.
Real World Police, a YouTube channel dedicated to sharing celebrity arrests, memorable arrests and corrupt police behavior, was among the first to popularize Dewitte news outside of Central Florida. In January 2020, Jay Horowitz, the citizen journalist behind the channel, began uploading Dewitte-related footage and court documents he’d obtained through public records requests made during a general search for juicy agency bodycam footage.
The “combination of Jeremy’s extreme personality and extensive, unrepentant criminal history makes him a natural story subject,” Horowitz would later say in a quote for a TV feature on Dewitte. And viewers felt the same way — the Metro State videos racked up thousands and sometimes millions of views. Their popularity soon inspired more channels, whose founders have been thorough — perhaps obsessive — about posting every Dewitte-related document and video they can unearth. Metro State communities sprung up on Reddit, Facebook and other social media sites to discuss the footage, while the now-defunct jeremydewittecase.com website and its related social media accounts became another source of news and updates.
The Jeremy Dewitte obsession soon stretched from Florida all the way to the other side of the Earth. Josh, who is based in Melbourne, Australia, and did want to give his last name, is the man behind the prominent Dewitte YouTube channel Fraudie International Operations. Josh is a truck driver by trade, a profession he says gives him unlimited time to listen to every minute of every police interview with Dewitte and thereby analyze the saga more thoroughly than his competition. Admitting he’s obsessed with the case, Josh says Dewitte’s actions are concerning no matter where you’re from, and that’s what drives him on. “The fact is [Dewitte] is endangering the lives of every single road user, and he’s convinced he [is doing] the right thing,” he says.
Dewitte launched his own YouTube channel in an attempt to combat the negative sentiments about him, but that effort led to even more ridicule. Before the comments were turned off, viewers mocked him for gratuitously showing off his equipment and for his fanciful twists of logic to justify his interpretation of state law. To many viewers, Metro State’s antics seemed even more outrageous and offensive given that they became well-known during 2020’s national outpouring of anger about police brutality and incidents of civilians taking the law into their own hands. Dewitte’s case almost seemed like a juvenile parody of something like the Kyle Rittenhouse case, and commenters from both the left and right clearly felt some sense of righteous duty in exposing what Dewitte was doing.
But the content they obtained went beyond videos and logs of Metro State calls. Another aspect of this story — one that I’m not going into for privacy reasons — is the relationship between Dewitte, his wife and his girlfriends, which is a convoluted, toxic, sad mess of its own. Because the drama of these relationships overlaps so significantly with Metro State’s antics, Dewitte’s wife and girlfriends appear frequently in the hundreds of pages of police reports, screenshots of text conversations, 911 calls, taped jailhouse phone calls, police interviews and videos of officers responding to Dewitte’s residence for domestic disturbance calls. Any post in which this content is shared on one of the sites covering Dewitte is typically accompanied by sarcastic and extremely degrading commentary toward the women in Dewitte’s life.
“There are days where you feel sorry — why am I doing this to this bloke, ridiculing him online? Is it really acceptable to do this? But then I think, ‘He’s been doing this for years,’” Josh says, noting he’s even gotten an offer from a viewer for unrestricted use of her credit card to get all the documents he can.
Dewitte-related videos and their millions of views soon turned him into the quintessential “Florida Man” meme, but without, as Dewitte complains, providing the full context of why he was yelling at drivers. An interaction seen in one of the more widely circulated Metro State clips doesn’t show that the impatient driver was hurling racist insults at the procession, Dewitte explains.
Dewitte, in turn, filed reports with the police about the “keyboard warriors and fuck boy trolls” who constantly harass him and his family because of what they’ve read about him online. The attention he’s received as a result of his internet fame has led to him being threatened in real time by people following the case online. His house has been burgled, he says, the people close to him have been mocked and harassed, and online trolls have even targeted the gas station where he fuels the Metro State fleet.
“Horowitz tried to destroy me and my family, he tried to ruin my chances for a fair trial, and he has put my life in danger with the threats to kill me and kill my family that we receive every day from strangers,” Dewitte says in an interview on jeremydewittecase.com.
For better or worse, Dewitte would soon have a chance to tell his side of the story in an even more high-profile forum.
Following an initial conversation with producers of the Dr. Phil show, Dewitte’s trademark Motor One motorcycle was shipped from Florida to the show’s production warehouse in Los Angeles, and on November 1, 2020, Dewitte and Amir Ladan, his longtime attorney, flew out to be interviewed. The display of Metro State’s fleet on the show was of course impressive, but the interview did not start off well. Dewitte told Dr. Phil he was being persecuted because of his 1998 police impersonation charge, split hairs about the color of Florida’s patrol officer uniforms and alleged one of the sheriffs investigating him (whom he didn’t name) was trying to get Dewitte’s business shut down so he could start his own funeral escort group.
Dewitte acknowledged that he was facing prison time from his spate of charges but didn’t seem to grasp his own role in having charges brought against him. “Where have I pulled over some car on the side of the road, or some lady and asked for her driver’s license — where have I done that, other than yelling at someone who’s entered my funeral illegally?” he says, to which Dr. Phil looks at the camera incredulously. Ladan looks strained for much of the show, though he does an admirable job of calmly clarifying the legality of funeral escorts and quietly gets Dewitte back on track when the conversation starts going too far off course.
Dewitte makes an appearance on Dr. Phil’s TV show.
The Dr. Phil episode was not all negative toward Dewitte. The owners of two funeral homes gave glowing reviews of Metro State, calling Dewitte nothing but professional, and Dewitte did make the point that he was simply yelling at unsafe drivers as a concerned citizen and not as a false officer, since his lights and sirens weren’t on at the time. “Sgt. Blue Bacon,” the YouTuber and private investigator who’d once interviewed Dewitte for his channel, also appeared as a guest, and clips of his cringeworthy parody songs about Dewitte proved the point that some people on the internet had become strangely obsessed with Dewitte’s life.
Dewitte even agreed to take a polygraph test to determine whether he was “being deceptive” when talking about his activities with Metro State, and to have the results read on air. It turned out to be another poor decision on his part.
The examiner told Dr. Phil that someone having a score of negative 3 or lower would indicate deception. Dewitte scored a negative 37. (That said, the show indicated that Dewitte was only asked three questions, and polygraph results are typically inadmissible in court, due to the questionable science behind the analysis.)
Despite the hours of video footage and interactions with police, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office appeared to suddenly close the investigation into Dewitte and Metro State in late 2020, leaving Sgt. Vidler wondering whose strings had been pulled to get him to back off.
The evident end of Sgt. Vidler’s investigation did not mean officers couldn’t engage with Dewitte when they saw Metro State doing something illegal, which is why Vidler pulled Dewitte over on a bridge in March 2021. Dewitte allegedly put his hand near his holstered gun, which caused Vidler to draw his own weapon and force Dewitte to the ground. Even though Dewitte’s firearm was determined to be a nonlethal pepperball gun, Vidler wrote in his report that “the defendant was not carrying the weapon for personal protection, but rather for the appearance of a firearm to gain compliance from civilians during his escorts, which the defendant has confirmed through previous interviews.” But because the gun was not a lethal weapon and was not loaded — and thus legal for Dewitte to have — the charges were dropped and he was released the next day.
“I should’ve never been arrested. My motorcycle should’ve never been towed. I shouldn’t have been aimed at by gunpoint and told to lay down on busy I-4 on rush hour traffic, and I definitely shouldn’t have been dragged down the road by my helmet while he’s trying to yank my helmet off,” Dewitte told WESH 2 News.
While Dewitte was somewhat vindicated in this instance, he still had repercussions from the fall 2019 incidents and those seen in the video cache to worry about. By the time the legal dust settled in May 2021, Dewitte faced six felony impersonation charges across two counties, plus an “interception of wireless communications” charge for recording one of his calls of complaint against Vidler without the other party’s permission, and a failure to register as a sex offender charge.
Dewitte faced 85 years in prison, which potentially could’ve been increased on account of his status as a habitual offender. Despite the intense cloud hanging over his future, Dewitte continued to post videos to the Metro State YouTube account, including “Day in the Life of Jeremy Dewitte: Get Ready With Me – Motor One Edition,” which opens with lights-flashing glamour shots of Metro State’s fleet and goes on to show Dewitte suiting up for duty (and showing off his cologne collection as he does so).
Eventually, Dewitte agreed to take a plea deal and spend 18 months in jail (less 110 days for time served) followed by 48 months’ probation. He was also required to dismantle Metro State, and prohibited from possessing guns, any type of security vehicle, uniforms or equipment that can be used for law enforcement. He began his sentence in October 2021 at a work camp facility in Central Florida. (His half-brother and Metro State agent Dylan Vogt was likewise facing a felony charge for impersonating law enforcement, but the charge was eventually dropped.)
Dewitte did not reply to my attempts to reach him in prison, and a brief dialogue with his attorney, Amir Ladan, ultimately yielded no further response from Dewitte. This is understandable, as Dewitte at some point had to have realized he was doing himself more harm than good any time he tried to explain himself. Or he may have been waiting to tell his story on his own terms. Dewitte was released in September 2022, and Ladan said his client now had a new representative in Hollywood. It seemed, for a fleeting moment, that Jeremy Dewitte might have the last laugh.
Even though Dewitte spent a year in the can and Metro State was disbanded, the case has continued to have unexpected fallout. And Dewitte has not been the only one to suffer the consequences.
An internal investigation conducted by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office of Sgt. Vidler’s March 2021 arrest of Dewitte for the pepperball gun found that Vidler “purposely” targeted Dewitte. In October 2021, Vidler was fired for abuse of authority; his partner, Cpl. Ramsey, was also disciplined for his role in the investigation of Dewitte.
Vidler has his own history of civilian complaints against him, but he claims that his firing was orchestrated by forces within the Orange County Sheriff’s Office who are for some reason allied with Jeremy Dewitte. Metro State had friends inside the sheriff’s office who planned to “unarrest Jeremy Dewitte and target Sergeant Keith Vidler and Corporal John Ramsey,” according to a GoFundMe organized for Vidler’s legal fees.
Vidler filed a lawsuit against the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in April 2022, claiming he was fired for being a whistleblower regarding the department’s decision to drop further investigation into Dewitte in 2019. What his whistleblowing actually entailed has not yet been made clear, but in an interview with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Internal Affairs Bureau conducted in May 2021 (and posted online by Fraudie International), Vidler’s captain, Sandy Carpenter, says that the investigation was not shut down, but rather that sheriffs need to “get their paperwork together, get their case together … by a certain date so [the state attorney] can do what they need to do.”
The Dewitte case seems like it may be a proxy battle over issues within the office that will have to play themselves out in court. But despite this squabbling and the apparent downfall of his nemesis, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that Jeremy Dewitte did not in fact have the last laugh.
Following his release in fall 2022, Dewitte uploaded a series of videos discussing his delight at being able to spend more time with his daughter and return to normal family life. Unfortunately, he posted them to YouTube despite signing an agreement as part of his early release promising to stay off social media. Other videos featured him and his girlfriend badmouthing his parole officer, as well as railing against what he said is the illegal infringement of his First Amendment right to free speech. The result? Dewitte was rearrested on November 30, 2022, for violating the conditions of his probation, mere months after he was released. Apparently unable to believe that this was happening to him again, Dewitte said, “I’m not going back to prison, not today, not for a technical violation,” even as he was being led away.
Dewitte is currently incarcerated pending sentencing for violating the terms of his probation, and as this piece was being readied for publication, the state attorney filed more charges against Dewitte. Metro State’s own bodycam footage revealed that Dewitte and Dylan Vogt may have bilked insurance companies out of tens of thousands of dollars by registering Metro State vehicles as their own, as well as gotten spurious payouts for accidents reported as far back as 2014. Dewitte is alleged to have deliberately caused accidents that he blamed on the other drivers, after which he would submit the same paperwork and receipts for separate claims. Metadata from photos he submitted to show the damage revealed that the photos were taken years apart, and he was also caught leaving the scene on multiple occasions or claiming to be the driver when he actually wasn’t.
Meanwhile, the online community dedicated to chronicling Jeremy Dewitte’s escapades eagerly awaits the next chapter in this sordid saga, cheering on a break in the relative silence from when he was incarcerated. It remains unclear how much more time Dewitte may serve, and whether his nemesis, Sgt. Vidler, will ultimately be vindicated in court.
Surprisingly, the funeral escort profession might be the one entity that has come out ahead in all of this. The National Funeral Escort Association’s Nick Kuluva says that Dewitte’s example — and the attention it has shone on the relatively unknown profession — has led many escort businesses to become accredited by the National Funeral Escort Association to prove that they are straight shooters. The standards for membership are quite high, including criminal background checks of members and drivers. “Even if Metro State applied, I don’t think they’d pass our qualifications,” Kuluva says with a laugh.
Dewitte, for his part, remains unflagging in his insistence that his actions were all in the name of protecting his clients.
During his appearance on Dr. Phil, he uses Dr. Phil’s wife in an example to explain why he was willing to go to such lengths on his escorts. It might be the most sincere thing he’s ever said, but his sincerity is also why authorities will forever be wary of whatever form of public service Dewitte might feel called to provide next — if he ever manages to stay out of prison.
“If she were to pass away tomorrow, the one person that you’ve spent 44 years with, and she was everything to you, you would be the most emotional, distraught person you’ve ever thought of,” Dewitte says to Dr. Phil. “And [if] somebody decides that ‘you know what, your funeral doesn’t matter, your family doesn’t matter’ … would you not want me to make sure that your family’s absolutely safe, no matter what it might take?”