We were just east of St. Louis today on I-70 with a
27' travel trailer in tow. I was following a semi doing
about 60 mph, and as he slowed down, so did I. Limit for
trucks and trailers is 55 mph in Ill. Ah! Cop coming up
Gets about even with the semi in front of us, and
matches speed. After about two miles, he drops back to
about a car length behind us, still one lane to the left.
Hangs there for about five more miles when he hits his
This guy was apparently a moron. Kept asking me the
same questions over and over and I kept giving the same
answers over and over. Finally after about 20 minutes,
he asks to see my license and registrations, and after
barely glancing at any of it, tells me he's not going
to cite me, to drive safely and have a nice day. I
never did figure out why he pulled me over or what he
didn't cite me for. At one point he had said something
about the trailer swerving in the wind... as if that
were somehow a citable offense, but the breeze was
barely enough to rustle the leaves.
I've driven the country MANY times, north to south,
east to west, and this is the first time I've ever been
pulled over for no reason. Actually, it's the first
time I've ever been pulled over on an interstate.
The length of my hair? He's shopping for a travel
trailer and was hoping I'd offer him a tour? Out of
state plates? He was bored? During the interrogation
I was just puzzled, but afterwards, I was pissed. Where
do these little tin Jesuses get off detaining law abiding
citizens for no reason at all?
I think Illinois just formed the basis for my new
"avoid like the plague" list.
He was asking the same questions over and over for 20 minutes hoping that
you'd screw up and give a different answer. Then you'd be a damned liar
and he could go to town with you.
Good for you that you could remember what you said before.
Its got Chicago in it. It has to be a shithole.
Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a delusional,
illogical liberal minority, and rabidly promoted by an
unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the
proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.
It has been a while since I've been stopped but the routine seems like a fishing
expedition. Illinois is on my No Go List. I've been there once and I very left
What was he fishing for? Drugs most likely.
Actually, I thought it was around 15 minutes, but
my wife said it was closer to 20. I didn't have a
stopwatch going so, who know.
"Are there two beds in that trailer?"
"Where are you travelling from and to?"
"Does it have... expansion?"
"Are you carrying anything illegal; firearms, alcohol
tobacco?" (as if those are illegal)
"What do you do for a living?"
"Do you own a house in NH?"
"Why are you travelling?"
Too many to list them all, but those seem to be
You believe it's alright for cops to just stop
people at random to ask (think German accent)
"Show me your papers! Sorry, your papers are in
order, but I must now detain you for 20 minutes for
no reason at all"
The magic question is "Am I free to go?" As I understand
the game, legally he was not detaining you, you were
willingly cooperating. Ask the magic question and
he has to make a decision, along with all the attendant
legal baggage, of whether or not to officially detain you.
I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.
Yeah, I've driven through Illinois dozens (maybe 100) times and never
had any problems like that. My guess is he was stalling while waiting for
somebody to look up your records... possibly an "Amber Alert" or stolen
vehicle/trailer alert that you fit somehow.
In some cases those things can be illegal. I had much the same thing happen
in Huntsville, Texas 15 years ago. The cop claimed he pulled us over because
my wife wasn't wearing her seatbelt. She was wearing her seatbelt and as far
as I can figure my crime was traveling north with out of state plates on a
common drug courier route. We were detained for almost a half an hour when I
refused to let him search the car. He stated he was that he is going to call
a K9 officer and let the dog do it's thing. Finally, I told him the only
thing I was bringing back from Texas was a bag of grapefruit and he could go
ahead and search the trunk. After I opened the trunk he barely searched it
and let us go.
He was trying to get probable cause to search your trailer. Good thing you
didn't get smart, or you would probably still be there picking up your
"stuff" from the side of the highway where they threw it out when "tossing"
your trailer. If I was you, I would have given him what for, and asked if
his mother and father were related. If his grandpa had only one big
eyebrow. Of course, that is what I would have done with YOUR ID. As for
me, it's Yessir and Nosir and straight short answers. Messing with a cop
makes as much sense as insulting your barber before a haircut. Have you
always had a problem with authority figures?
Happened to me 30 years ago on I57
It turned out we were the spitting image of someone who had just robbed a
The eyewitness however, was positive that they were driving a gold '63
impala not a gold '64 polara.
We were heading back from college and our trunk was full of guns and
I am glad they trusted that witness. If they had popped the trunk, we
probably would have ended up in Statesville.
Paul K. Dickman