Musings and Amusings

Fortunately I drove across Illinois to Michigan without a repeat of those flashing police car lights in my rear view mirror. Dad was recovering well, and I remained in Michigan for a week. There were lots of family members present, lots of emotion, and lots of logistics to settle so I was immersed in helping Dad and Mom make decisions.

I kept re-playing my Iowa incident in my mind. Having been fleeced in a scam years ago, ironically by someone posing as a cop, I wasn’t convinced I hadn’t unwittingly provided my driver’s license and registration data to an identity thief.

I decided if I still had doubts after I returned to Colorado and checked all my bank and credit card activity, I’d contact the Iowa State Patrol.


Source: Google Images

Dad’s chemo/radiation plan established, and Plan B’s for local food, driving, cleaning and therapy support if needed, I left Michigan – not wanting to leave Dad but wanting to be in Colorado with Hub.

Lo and behold as I drove the 30 mile stretch outside of Des Moines, this time heading west, I saw two cars pulled over across the highway in the eastbound lanes. Each time the car was boxed in by a police car at its front and rear. The occupants were clearly cuffed, sitting by the side of the road. There were piles on the side of the road as police removed everything from each car – in one case even the back seats had been pulled from the car.

cop search

Source: Google Images

Once home, I got online and confirmed the Iowa information on ‘my paper’ matched the official Iowa State Patrol website and nothing fishy had shown up in my financial accounts. I stashed ‘my paper’ back in my car’s glove box and put that whole episode out of my mind until a year later when Hub and I packed the car for our September 2010 visit to Michigan.

We have our road trip ritual down. Hub drives the first shift when his caffeine is going full bore. Thus he’d be driving the dawn stretch on the second travel day heading east from Des Moines.

des moines sign 1

Hub has a lead foot.

Hub has a deaf ear to my “slow down” pleadings.

I reminded him how anxious I get about being stopped, and I pulled out the “if you REALLY love me, you’ll …” card. I could tell he didn’t think the whole ‘drug runner’ episode would be repeated, but he humored me by staying under the speed limit as we left Des Moines. We didn’t leave the Holiday Inn until 7am, so the sky was light.

About 25 miles east of Des Moines, we passed a police car idling in the crossover. The policeman pulled out as soon as we passed him.  He drove slightly behind us, but he stayed in the left lane. For ten excruciating minutes nothing happened, except for my heart rate skyrocketing as I rummaged in the glove box for my by-now-badly-faded-therma-fax ‘paper’.

Suddenly he accelerated forward, lights flashing. Instead of motioning us over, he zoomed in behind the car ahead of us which bore California plates. Both cars quickly pulled to the side of the highway.

All I can surmise is he ran my plates through the system while following us, and my car was still documented as ‘little old lady; no longer runs with or without drugs’.

I was so giddy, I wanted to shout, “SUCKER!” to those hapless Californians, but knew the karma would surely kickback.

Fast forward to 2014; Hub and I are preparing for our annual visit to Michigan.

And I have a new car with new license plates.

Undocumented in Iowa.

I don’t know whether to place a ‘Bro’ Don’t Cuff Me’ or ‘Been There Done That’ sign in the back window.

Save your bail money just in case.


Postscript: I wrote this series last week AFTER we returned from our road trip to Michigan in my new car. We rarely saw a police car in any state. Curious about the lack of activity around Des Moines, I located an online report about two Poker players from California who – this month – filed suit against the Iowa State Patrol for a 2013 traffic stop in which police searched the car and confiscated $100,000 in winnings. The suit claims the officers had no probable cause to search the car resulting in unreasonable search and seizure targeting out-of-state cars. Police still have not returned all the money.  (I’m not sure why the poker players would take their winnings in cash and drive around with it in the car!)

This series is an anecdotal story, not intended to imply judgment on profiling, drug wars or police tactics. I continue to place my trust in our public safety officers.


Comments on: "The Time I Was Mistaken for a Drug Runner – Part 3" (38)

  1. Glad your return was without ‘incident’.
    We start a road trip on Friday morning..with US friends who arrive tomorrow evening. They’ll be interested I am sure as to police behaviour on our roads. Some of our drivers drive waaaay out of the speed limit.. they scare the hell out of me. This time the husband will do the driving – and I’ll try not to do any back seat mutterings .
    And eish re: the $100,000 stash!

    • Susan, those speeders who tailgate and zip in and out of lanes scare me too.

      It’s been awhile since we’ve taken a road trip with another couple and I hope you see some lovely scenery, have lively conversations and come back to tell us about the highlights!!

      Be safe!

  2. Glad to see the update ( I would have worried!) Another fab post Sammy, I can’t help but see a movie screenplay in this somewhere…..;)

  3. I’ve enjoyed this series Sammy. Glad to learn that you’re not a drug runner!

    • :-). Thank you, Eileen!

      The irony of smoking marijuana back in the ’60s when it was illegal and not smoking it in my 60’s now that it’s legal in Colorado hasn’t escaped me 🙂

  4. Glad to hear that your trip(s) ended without incident, arrest, need for bail or confiscation of private funds. I wonder how they justified taking the money, but you’re right, who takes that much money in cash anywhere? Maybe after I retire, I’ll make the CT to Iowa run. I have tinted windows, but I have no clue how much tint they have. I enjoyed the series. Thanks for not spreading it out over a long time.

    • CT to IA would cover some varied countryside, and is a stretch I haven’t traveled.

      Yes, the whole tint thing was interesting – to me it’s sort of like the porn standard – not quite sure how much tint is too much but you know it when you see it!

      I assume your last sentence means not leaving days of gaps between posting? Do you like the occasional “series” method? We all tend to give (much appreciated) positive feedback and stay silent (or unfollow) if topics or posting schedules and techniques don’t appeal. Not appealing is expected for a post or two, but i’d prefer to know if regular readers begin losing interest in my blog’s direction. As a “generalist” and essayist, I’m brave enough to choose varied topics, but I still care about serving my readers. Suggestions or constructive criticism is welcome any time!

      • Especially after the first cliff-hanging entry, yes, I was glad not to have to wait a week. I do like the occasional series. I have done them myself, but I tend to put the parts out quickly. I did a 6-part series on wood working but I wrote it all ahead of time and released it across 6 days. My next blog post is kind of the first part of a 2-part series but I’m not really identifying it as such since I think they stand alone.

      • I missed the woodworking series and want to read it . I’m envious that you are skilled at hand crafts like woodworking as well as writing. I have athletic hand/eye skills , but things like drawing, sewing, using tools – all those hand/eye skills seem to elude me. Probably some is not enough patience with precision, but even my best efforts don’t come out well. Next life!

        Look forward to seeing you in my Reader soon 🙂

  5. Finally did my homework – it is illegal in Canada (federal and provincial statutes) to drive with an obscured window. In some cases it’s a define percentage, but in most, it is up to the discretion of the police. The windows must allow safe viewing out and in.

    • Heh, heh how timely – see my reply to Dan about the “tint standard”. Also my paragraph to him about wanting feedback from readers applies to you, too. I LOvE your positive feedback but also value and appreciate constructive criticism on writing style, topics, etc 🙂

      • It’s a tough call, this one, writing for yourself or writing for your readers. I think if yours was a hobby blog, say, on how to crotchet and you wrote more often than not about sky-diving, I’d unfollow in short order. Not that I have anything against sky diving, but I followed in the first place because I want to know about crotchet.

        I follow your blog, Sammy, because I want to know about you and what you have to say. About anything. Now, if you suddenly found a passion for poetry, and wrote about your thoughts THAT way, then I might visit less often. Not because I have anything against poetry… wait. I do have something against poetry, but that’s my stuff, not yours!

      • Thanks, Maggie!! That’s the kind of info that I appreciate. Blogging can be somewhat like the proverbial candy store – so many intriguing topics and styles to choose from. I do want to experiment occasionally but It doesn’t mean all my experiments need to be “pushed” into posts.

        Last 80 degree sunny day today with rain/cold tomorrow so heading out to bask in the sunshine and autumn array.

  6. I used to live just outside Des Moines in the late 90s. Guess I should consider myself lucky for not getting stopped. Well, I guess I did get a warning for speeding once. Was racing home from clinic to nurse my baby and didn’t realize how fast I was going. The cop was really nice about it. Phew.

    • Phew :-). Probably sleep-deprived on top of all your other stresses! Glad he gave you a break. It really can serve as a “pay attention” wakeup call and that’s a positive thing cops on the street provide.

      Thanks for reading, Carrie. I always appreciate your interest and comments.

  7. I’m glad to hear this story had a happy ending!
    … but driving around with $100,000 cash in your car sounds either fishy – or dumb.

    I got stopped once for speeding and I actually made the cop laugh out loud when I said I was losing my ‘virginity’ because I have never been stopped before. I still got a ticket. 🙂

  8. cardamone5 said:

    I know these events were stressful for you, but you presented them in such a funny tone that all I can say or sing is: Bad boys, bad, boys, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you.


    • LOL Then I accomplished my mission 🙂 some topics are dead serious, but recounting “the drama” in our ordinary lives needs a dose of snark, spice or silly. Or who would read?

      Thanks, Elizabeth – now that’ll be running through my head for hours 🙂

  9. I enjoyed the series. Great technique for telling an interesting story!

  10. Great series! So glad that I didn’t need to wire you bail money. John Oliver just did a great piece on police confiscating money from apparently innocent drivers (“Civil Forfeiture”). It’s worth watching (it’s on You Tube). Best not to over-tint your windows or carry large sums of cash.

  11. I am going to stand on the side of the cops with this one (as I do with most, since I am the mother of a cop) Most people driving around with that kind of money are are their way to buy drugs….not just coming from gambling. I don’t even think the casinos will give you that much in cash will they. Sounds pretty fishy to me……

  12. And you made it without any more heart-pounding excitement. Yeah, careful with the Californians and the karma. 🙂

    Great series, Sammy. You have a knack for writing suspense.

  13. A great 3 parter Sammy. I love reading about American road-trips, but have to admit to being very naive about the road rules over there – I should really look them up before hiring a car! I guess we don’t have the worry here of being stopped by someone with a gun, that’s the one thing that worries me about the US, and I hope I never get stopped by a cop over there! And as for writing for yourself or for your audience I would have to agree with Maggie. I read your blog because I love what you say and how you say it. You are the only one I follow having met through the A-Z challenge and I am so glad we met. I think we’d have lots to talk about over a cup of coffee whether it is the clothes we wear, the grandkids or the 1960s 😀

    • Oh, Jude, you’re so sweet. Thank you! I’m sure we wouldn’t run out of things to talk about 🙂 i’m very glad we met, too.

      Don’t be afraid of our cops – 99% are Good Guys and Gals. Our roads are safe, and we will always hear about the bad things that happen but never about the normal or exceptionally good things.
      What you read in the news is far different from what is taking place in towns across our country.

      Our trees are finally turning here; tomorrow will be perfect for basking in the yellows, oranges snd reds. Will think of you on my walk 🙂

  14. Even when you’ve done nothing at all you start to feel guilty when a police car hovers, Sammy. Glad your little escapade didn’t end in tears. Enjoy that stroll among the leaves. 🙂

  15. I don’t blame you for being freaked out, especially that first time you were pulled over!! Glad everything turned out well and that your dad is OK!

Comments are closed.


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