Stopped at gunpoint by the Ohio State Police! (LONG)

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Mosca
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2012/05/27 20:02:57 (permalink)

Stopped at gunpoint by the Ohio State Police! (LONG)

This is one hell of a story, and serves as the was it SHOULD go down.

I had to drive from NE PA to Indiana, to pick up my daughter from college. Because we had to haul all her stuff back for the summer, I needed a van, so I borrowed one from work. The night before we left, I grabbed a tag, and filled out temporary registration info, and picked out an '11 Grand Caravan (nice van, even being a Chrysler product).

It's basically a 500+ mile trip on I-80, through PA, OH, and IN; maybe 9-10 hours, stopping every 2-3 hours to stretch. Traveling out Thursday was uneventful, other than it was chilly and rainy. We loaded her up Friday morning after her last final, and after stopping to eat we were on our way around noon.

It was a beautiful day for driving, 70* with no wind, and not a cloud in the sky. We crossed into Ohio around 2PM, and around 2:30 we were looking for the next rest stop. Motoring along with the cruise set at 74 (speed limit in Oh is 70), Mrs said, "Cop ahead."

"It's OK, I'm not speeding, and anyhow that Jetta just passed me." And sure enough, I looked in the rear view and the cop pulled out. "Looks like he's getting pulled over," I said.

Except it didn't happen. The cruiser took up position right off my left flank, and tracked me. I slowed down, from 74 to 70; the cop slowed down. I slowed down to 65; the cop slowed down. "Ahhhh, hell." I said to the girls. "I can't believe it. I'm going to get ticketed for going 74. What a ticky-tack state!"

The cop tracked me for about 5 miles, and then I looked in the rear view, and flying up from waaaaaay back was one of those Hemi Charger pursuit cars, all black with the real skinny light bar, headlights flashing and light bar blinking. "Ahhh, backup," I thought. "They must be going after that guy, she was waiting." But as soon as he got up in place, they both pulled in behind me, the first car threw on the lights and siren, and I pulled over immediately. "Son of a bitch," I thought. "I really am going to get ticketed for 74!"

I turned off the ignition, and put my hands on the wheel like a good citizen; rule number one is to maximize your chance of talking your way out of it. But they were both out of the car, and yelling at me! Huh? What kind of stop was this? I put down my window, and they were yelling, "PUT YOUR HANDS WHERE WE CAN SEE THEM!" I looked in the rear view, and I couldn't hear them, but the officer from the first car, a woman, was motioning me to get out. I got out, and started walking back, thinking that this wasn't like any other traffic stop I'd ever been in, and I noticed that the guy from the Hemi had a riot shotgun pointed right at me. And they were yelling, "TURN AROUND! TURN AROUND! PUT YOUR HANDS BEHIND YOUR HEAD AND WALK BACKWARD TO US, SLOWLY!"

Holy ****.

OK, now I was really confused. But I figured out that my best course of action right then was to turn around, put my hands behind my head, and walk backward to them, slowly.

When I got there, the first officer, who did all the talking the entire time, said, "Okay. put your hands behind your back. Do you have anything sharp, and weapons, anything that could hurt me?" And she proceeded to pat me down, and of course I had nothing. "Okay, turn around, put your hands in the air where we can see them." Meanwhile, the other guy had the shotgun leveled at me.

"I need to tell you," I said, "I am confused, and scared as hell that you are going to mistake my confusion for noncompliance. Please, don't tase me. If you tase me you will kill me, I have a heart condition." They didn't say anything, they didn't change expression, nothing. The officer said, "Do you have ID on you?"

ID! "Yes," I said, and I reached for my wallet. IMMEDIATELY the shotgun came up to attention! "Slowly," she said. I got out my drivers license. She took it.

"Where are you coming from?" She asked. I told her, picking up my daughter from college.

"Is that your family in there?"

"Yes, my wife and my daughter. Can I ask, what is this about? I am really confused."

"Who does this van belong to?" I told her, Nationwide Car Sales. "Do you own the dealership?" "No." "Do you work there?" "Yes, I do the financing."

"You really don't have any idea why we stopped you, do you... The reason is, when you passed through the Westgate, they snapped a photo of your license plate, and it's been reported as stolen."

"WHAT? I grabbed a tag out of a stack of tags! We've been using these tags daily, there's nothing wrong with them!" And just then, over the speaker clipped to her lapel, the dispatcher said, "Plate number is registered to Nationwide Car Sales." Ahh. Finally, something is going right.

"Okay, now I understand," I said.

"It's a dealer tag. I've seen it happen before. If I really thought this car was stolen, you'd all be out here on the ground, face down and handcuffed. But sometimes a plate is reported stolen, and some states replace it with the same number. I need to ask some questions, I'm going to call Nationwide Car Sales."

"Can I put my hands down now?" I'd been holding my hands up for about 15 minutes. As soon as I said that, the shotgun came right back up to attention.

"No, that's OK, keep them up where I can see them for now," she said. She went back to her car, and talked to someone for a couple minutes. Ringo kept the shotgun on me. He looked like he was itching to make the newspapers.

She came back and said, "OK, you can go back and sit in your car, I have to make some more calls."
"Can I have my license back?"
"No, I'll hold onto it for now."

I went back to my car and told the girls. "I knew it!" Said my daughter. "I thought you were just being an ******* when you put your hands in the air," said my wife (always the sense of humor about things, her).

Just then my cell phone rang. It was John, the GM, the guy I run Nationwide with, and the guy who is in charge of a lot of the admin stuff. I told him what happened.

"Yeah, I just got the call. I'm on my way over to the police station now to sort it out. We renewed all the plates, and reported the lost tags. I had Dawn check the numbers with the state... the guy at the Wilkes-Barre Township Police Department switched the lists, and reported all the good tags lost or stolen, and renewed all the lost ones!"

OH.

Just then, the trooper came up to my window. "I have John on the phone now, would you like to talk to him? I asked.

"No, I'll call him myself," she said. And then she asked me questions: Address of the business? Phone number? Dealer number? Who owns it, and how can I reach him? (I didn't tell her that, that would be death. I told her that I worked there for 5 years and I've seen him 3 times, which is a little bit of a stretch but mostly true.) Then she took the girls' IDs, and went back to her car.

Meanwhile, the whole time Ringo has that shotgun pointed at the van.

We sat there. Remember when we got pulled over, we we looking for the next rest stop? Yeah. It was coming up on an hour now. I looked in the rear view, and saw her talking on the radio to someone, then waiting, then talking, then throwing her clipboard on the dash, then waiting, then talking...

Finally Ringo lowered the gun, got in his black Hemi Charger, turned off his lights and floored it out of there. I took a deep breath and let it out. Finally.

But we were still sitting there, waiting. It was now coming up on 4PM. There were only a few things that could happen now. From best outcome to worst:

  • She could let us go on our way. That would be cool.
  • She could let us go on our way, but give me a ticket for an improper registration. That would sort of suck, but I could understand.
  • She could be waiting for a tow truck. She might be a real stickler for the rules, and figure that she couldn't let us continue without a valid registration. That would REALLY suck, because then we'd be in god-knows-where-Ohio, with no idea what to do next, and no idea when we'd get home.


    And that last one, that would really suck because our daughter was leaving for a service trip to Peru in a week, and needed to have a lot of doctor's appointments and such filled in the next week, and all her stuff was in the car.

    Finally, she got out of her car, and walked over to the passenger window.

    "I figured something like this," she said. Talking to my wife, "If I really thought this was stolen, you'd have all been out on the ground handcuffed, face down."

    "Mrs laughed. "Well thank goodness for that! We'd have been crying and crying!" And finally the officer smiled.

    "Here's what I did. I couldn't get anyone from the station to tell me anything. So I took the 'hit' off your plate. DON'T GET STOPPED. If you get stopped, they'll run the tag, and it will come up stolen again. I didn't file a report, so this incident won't show up, and you'll have to go through this all again. But at least no one will be looking for you now. You can go on your way now. Drive safely."

    "I appreciate your professionalism," I said (yes, I really said exactly that). "I thought I was going to get ticketed for 74, and then I was confused as hell, but once I could see that it was going to get sorted out I felt a lot better. Thank you for being so professional. I have no problem with how it went down... I'm just not happy that it happened to be ME." She smiled, but didn't answer other than to say, "Have a good drive, sir." "And you stay safe, officer!" said Mrs Mosca. And we parted.

    And that was it. The next rest stop was 28 miles. We drove at 70/71mph. We made it to the rest stop, then made it home by 11PM, two hours past our target time of 9PM, but safe.

    All in all, I have no complaints about how this was handled. I want the police to catch the bad guys. I have no problem with plates getting photoed and checked; if I have the right to photograph the police, they have the right to photograph a license plate displayed publicly. And a stolen car, that is the type of thing that could result in a bigger bust: drugs, kidnapping, other robberies, anything. Stuff happens.
    post edited by Mosca - 2012/05/27 20:29:30
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    21 Replies Related Threads

      Foodbme
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      Re:Stopped at gunpoint by the Ohio State Police! (LONG) 2012/05/27 20:20:17 (permalink)
      Quite a story!
      Out here in AZ with all the Drug & human trafficking, every time a cop pulls someone over, their life is on the line.
      #2
      Mosca
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      Re:Stopped at gunpoint by the Ohio State Police! (LONG) 2012/05/27 20:31:07 (permalink)
      That's what scared me, that I'd have a couple poorly trained officers. This was by the book. But I'm here to tell you: I've had a gun pointed at me twice in my life, once by a criminal and once by a cop. Both are equally terrifying.
      #3
      mayor al
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      Re:Stopped at gunpoint by the Ohio State Police! (LONG) 2012/05/27 21:07:29 (permalink)
      At risk of sounding 'light', the moral of the Story should be a link to the Roadfood axiom "Stay off The Interstates and Turnpikes and you will find peace and food for the soul" !!
      Kidding aside, You handled the situation as best you could. I am glad it turned out ok.
      AL
      #4
      joerogo
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      Re:Stopped at gunpoint by the Ohio State Police! (LONG) 2012/05/28 10:59:41 (permalink)
      Hey Tom, I hope you were wearing your brown pants!
       
      To me, the shotgun was a little overkill.  But, maybe he suspected you were a master of the martial arts also.
       
      EDIT - Firing up the egg today.  Porterhouse!!!!
      post edited by joerogo - 2012/05/28 11:02:05
      #5
      Michael Hoffman
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      Re:Stopped at gunpoint by the Ohio State Police! (LONG) 2012/05/28 11:07:01 (permalink)
      I'm sorry you had to go through that stop. But just so you'll know, in addition to everything else the troopers are doing they're also dealing with a lot of drug stuff on the highways here in Ohio. I'd bet the combination of a problem plate and a van triggered the concern. I'm glad you found them acting professionally, and as a former (long ago) law enforcement officer I commend you on the way you handled yourself.
      #6
      wheregreggeats.com
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      Re:Stopped at gunpoint by the Ohio State Police! (LONG) 2012/05/28 11:32:37 (permalink)
      I am sure you are right ... the one was probably itching to make the papers.  Those are the "good guys" who scare me.
       
      I once got pulled over somewhere in the Dakotas going 3 miles over the limit ... I was driving a rented van with Georgia tags.
       
      "Out of the car mister."  His hand on the gun.  "Get in the patrol car!"  No license and registration, just the command, and "Get in the FRONT seat.  Understand?  The FRONT seat"  Not that  had much room for error with 'Smokey' 2 inches away.  I get in the FRONT seat and see why he said that ... his K9 partner had possession of the back seat.  'Rover' took a couple snorts at me through the cage, made some sort of a dog/cop signal and I was told I'd be free to continue on my way.  I had apparently passed the 'sniff test' for drugs.
      I recall I got a warning.
      I also recall the cop was very disappointed.
      #7
      Mosca
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      Re:Stopped at gunpoint by the Ohio State Police! (LONG) 2012/05/28 12:44:43 (permalink)
      joerogo

      Hey Tom, I hope you were wearing your brown pants!

      To me, the shotgun was a little overkill.  But, maybe he suspected you were a master of the martial arts also.

      EDIT - Firing up the egg today.  Porterhouse!!!!

       
      Yeah, but not really, Joe. Middle aged white guys sometimes do some crazy things, like steal a van and kidnap their estranged families and kill them. It's sad to say, but that stuff is in the news all the time. They were completely right to take 100% physical control of the situation until it was sorted out. I didn't have to like it, but I understood it.
      wheregreggeats.com

      I am sure you are right ... the one was probably itching to make the papers.  Those are the "good guys" who scare me.

       
      Gregg, I'm sure that was true, but it is also part of the routine. It could look 100% normal until the officer gets to the window... and my "wife" is bound and gagged.  Then having the shotgun at the ready makes complete sense.
      post edited by Mosca - 2012/05/28 12:48:44
      #8
      wheregreggeats.com
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      Re:Stopped at gunpoint by the Ohio State Police! (LONG) 2012/05/28 13:05:27 (permalink)
      Mosca

      wheregreggeats.com

      I am sure you are right ... the one was probably itching to make the papers.  Those are the "good guys" who scare me.


      Gregg, I'm sure that was true, but it is also part of the routine. It could look 100% normal until the officer gets to the window... and my "wife" is bound and gagged.  Then having the shotgun at the ready makes complete sense.

      In concert with " ... lowered the gun, got in his black Hemi Charger, turned off his lights and floored it out of there ... "
      I'm not sure "flooring it out of there" had any relevance towards controlling the situation ...
      I worry sometimes.  In the end, I'm glad he didn't make it into the papers that day.
      #9
      ann peeples
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      Re:Stopped at gunpoint by the Ohio State Police! (LONG) 2012/05/28 19:08:06 (permalink)
      While reading your story-I did hava a "LOL" moment-your wife's comment about being an as***** while putting your hands up...otherwise, a pretty scary incident. I think its just the way life is going, now.....
      #10
      ScreamingChicken
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      Re:Stopped at gunpoint by the Ohio State Police! (LONG) 2012/05/28 21:42:03 (permalink)
      Mosca

      It could look 100% normal until the officer gets to the window... and my "wife" is bound and gagged.

       
      "Looks like you've been married for awhile, sir."
       
      A few years ago I got pulled over for expired registration and the patrolman noticed 3 empty 35mm film canisters in the front console.  He asked to see them and at first I didn't understand why, but then I caught on and couldn't help but laughing.  Which probably gave him even more probable cause.
       
      Mosca, you certainly deserve an apology from the W-B Township Police Department.  It's unfortunate that a mistake was made but sometimes they do happen, and in this case the consequences were pretty severe.  Hopefully this was the only incident.
      post edited by ScreamingChicken - 2012/05/28 21:49:29
      #11
      eruby
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      Re:Stopped at gunpoint by the Ohio State Police! (LONG) 2012/05/29 08:01:51 (permalink)
      I'm very glad things worked out Mosca, and I'll say you're far more forgiving of bad police procedure than I would be.
       
      IMO the shotgun didn't need to be pointed at you seemingly continuously. While you could have been a violent criminal, all the evidence pointed the other way, and keeping a few yards buffer would have given the cops time to take action if you were a psycho.
       
      I have great respect for the police and am not a cop-basher, but I think the situation could have been handled with a bit more decorum.  Pointing a shotgun at someone is very serious, and I think they went overboard after a while in this situation.
       
       
       
      #12
      MetroplexJim
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      Re:Stopped at gunpoint by the Ohio State Police! (LONG) 2012/05/29 08:29:33 (permalink)
      A scary tale; glad you survived with your sense of humor and bladder intact.  I hope (and trust) they had the safety activated on the shotgun!
      #13
      carlton pierre
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      Re:Stopped at gunpoint by the Ohio State Police! (LONG) 2012/05/29 09:28:07 (permalink)
      I admire your attitude, Mosca.  At least it turned into a story.  If it becomes a story you can tell it's ended up OK.
      #14
      Michael Hoffman
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      Re:Stopped at gunpoint by the Ohio State Police! (LONG) 2012/05/29 10:12:10 (permalink)
      MetroplexJim

      A scary tale; glad you survived with your sense of humor and bladder intact.  I hope (and trust) they had the safety activated on the shotgun!

      If the trooper with the shotgun had the safety on he should be fired for stupidity.

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      MetroplexJim
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      Re:Stopped at gunpoint by the Ohio State Police! (LONG) 2012/05/29 18:15:09 (permalink)
      Michael Hoffman

      MetroplexJim

      A scary tale; glad you survived with your sense of humor and bladder intact.  I hope (and trust) they had the safety activated on the shotgun!

      If the trooper with the shotgun had the safety on he should be fired for stupidity.


      As the "suspect" was both calm and cooperative I would leave that to the officer's discretion.  Note, I didn't say not to keep a thumb on the safety.
      #16
      Michael Hoffman
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      Re:Stopped at gunpoint by the Ohio State Police! (LONG) 2012/05/29 18:52:48 (permalink)
      MetroplexJim

      Michael Hoffman

      MetroplexJim

      A scary tale; glad you survived with your sense of humor and bladder intact.  I hope (and trust) they had the safety activated on the shotgun!

      If the trooper with the shotgun had the safety on he should be fired for stupidity.


      As the "suspect" was both calm and cooperative I would leave that to the officer's discretion.  Note, I didn't say not to keep a thumb on the safety.

      One of the things I've done for a lving over the years is consult on combat training for law enforcement officers. No safety should ever engaged when the weapon is deployed.
      #17
      slaveforpizzaandsushi
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      Re:Stopped at gunpoint by the Ohio State Police! (LONG) 2012/05/30 10:24:43 (permalink)
      Good gracious..what a scary ordeal. I am glad you and your family are all right. 
      #18
      MetroplexJim
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      Re:Stopped at gunpoint by the Ohio State Police! (LONG) 2012/05/30 11:08:58 (permalink)
      Michael Hoffman

      MetroplexJim

      Michael Hoffman

      MetroplexJim

      A scary tale; glad you survived with your sense of humor and bladder intact.  I hope (and trust) they had the safety activated on the shotgun!

      If the trooper with the shotgun had the safety on he should be fired for stupidity.


      As the "suspect" was both calm and cooperative I would leave that to the officer's discretion.  Note, I didn't say not to keep a thumb on the safety.

      One of the things I've done for a lving over the years is consult on combat training for law enforcement officers. No safety should ever engaged when the weapon is deployed.


      O.K.,  you are correct.  That said, there seemed to be an unseemly amount of shotgun levelling here.
      #19
      eruby
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      Re:Stopped at gunpoint by the Ohio State Police! (LONG) 2012/05/30 13:12:46 (permalink)
      I agree 100% with both Michael Hoffman (never deploy a gun with the safety on) and MetroplexJim (too much shotgun levelling).
      #20
      mr chips
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      Re:Stopped at gunpoint by the Ohio State Police! (LONG) 2012/06/04 15:17:30 (permalink)
      I'm glad you are okay. That was one scary experience.
      #21
      MikeS.
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      Re:Stopped at gunpoint by the Ohio State Police! (LONG) 2012/06/05 01:27:09 (permalink)
      I'm glad it all turned out well. What a scary experience.
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