A recent discussion about DUI checkpoints made me think of this. The time that my vehicle was searched for drugs because I turned left at an overpass.
When I was driving back across the country from California with two dogs, a cat, and a car FULL of stuff, somewhere in Louisiana a cop had set up some dumbass “sting” that I inadvertently got caught up in.
I was happily driving down the road, minding my own beeswax, and looking for a diner to eat at. I didn’t want a fast food place, I wanted a local, small town, mom & pop diner. Real Cajun food was what I was looking for. I was keeping my eye out for one as I passed exit after exit. Finally spotting a candidate, I went to the next exit and turned to go over the overpass so I could get back in the highway the other direction… because I had missed it since I didn’t see it soon enough.
Little did I know that a couple of miles back, a cop had apparently put up a sign saying “drug checkpoint ahead” or something. (or so I was told) He was sitting on the overpass I was getting ready to cross and when I pulled out and turned left, he pulled me over.
I asked him why, he said because I crossed the yellow line. Confused, I told him I had to cross the yellow line because I was turning left. I mean, how the fuck could you turn left and NOT cross the fucking yellow line? Then he said I veered “too far left” and wanted my license, registration, etc, and asked was I going to get mouthy with him or cooperate. What? Me? Mouthy? Hell, I was being nice.
But, I comply and hand over the requested documentation. My dogs are in the car going nutso because that’s what they do when unfamiliar people are around. This freaks him out, and with a hand on his gun he asks me to get out of the car. So I do, with my hands up. Now *I* am freaked.
He then asks if he can search my car and mentions something about the fact that I appeared nervous. Well yeah, fucktard, you just put your damn hand on your gun and had me get out of the car in a remote area where my screams wouldn’t be heard. Nervous? Just a tad.
I don’t think he has a goddamn reason to search my car, but I also have nothing to hide and really just wanted to get back on the road and get something to eat. And away from him. So I say yes, but tell him I’m moving and my car is full, and I mean FULL of stuff. He proceeds to pull everything out of my trunk and check all around the edges, pulling the fabric from the inside to check between it and the body of the car, asking me about weapons and whatnot. I’m standing there thinking about how long it took me to pack that trunk ‘just so’, so that it all fit in there. In the meantime, I mull over his weapons question. Did I have my knife in one of my bags there? I couldn’t remember, so I told him that.
He asked me if I saw the sign up the road. I asked him which sign he was talking about since I was driving on an interstate and there were a shitload of signs. He said the ‘drug checkpoint sign’ and after I told him no, he asked why I was turning around here. I pointed at the diner. He told me that place sucked, and asked why would I want to eat there. I guess he missed the fact that I had out of state tags and forgot about my telling him I was driving back to WV from California. How the hell was I supposed to know how the food was at some diner in the middle of nowhere in Louisiana?
All in all, the whole thing ended up being relatively painless but it was still unnerving. The cop let me go because he couldn’t find anything (there was nothing to find), but he didn’t seem convinced that I was “innocent”. I do really question the legality of it. But at the time, all I wanted was to get some food and get back on the road, so I guess I was willing to allow some of my rights to be infringed on in order to facilitate that.