Iowa

State Trooper Declines to Pull Over Iowa Governor's Speeding SUV

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clear like a megaphone
Reason 24/7

Some animals are more equal than others.

From the AP:

A trooper pursued an SUV that was speeding at 90 mph with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad inside, but declined to pull the driver over after realizing he was transporting the state's top elected official, audio recordings released Tuesday indicate.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety said it has launched a review of its handling of the April incident in which dispatchers, according to the recordings released to The Associated Press, laughed after learning the vehicle in question was the governor's.

Days later, the department placed the investigator who initiated the pursuit, Special Agent in Charge Larry Hedlund, on administrative leave. Hedlund's attorney said Tuesday the personnel action was retaliation for the agent complaining to superiors that the trooper driving the governor was improperly given a pass after putting public safety at risk. A Branstad spokesman denied that allegation. 

Hedlund can apparently be heard on the recording of the conversation with the dispatcher noting his "career doesn't have enough problems the way it is" when he found out it was the governor's car. He then called back to see if there was some kind of documentation of what happened and filed a complaint the following Monday about the governor not being cited for the speeding. Then he was suspended.

Governor Branstad, meanwhile, has apparently made highway safety a top priority in his administration and wants to bring the number of highway deaths in the state down to zero, according to the AP. He can start by not speeding.

New Jersey's former governor Jon Corzine got into an accident when his state SUV was speeding more than 90 miles an hour in 2007. Corzine wasn't wearing a seatbelt (which is against the law in New Jersey), and sustained heavy injuries. Corzine apologized and paid a seatbelt ticket he asked to be issued. A year later, an appeals court ruled the trooper driving the car shouldn't be issued a citation for speeding, careless driving, or reckless driving.

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24 responses to “State Trooper Declines to Pull Over Iowa Governor's Speeding SUV

  1. Look, the faster you go, the sooner you get there and get off the road. If you aren’t driving, it’s a lot harder to have a traffic accident.

    1. Actually, what happened is that the speedometer looped. So he was really going 20 mph, legally speaking.

  2. Yes, let’s just keep allowing the political class to be free of all of the rules. That can’t possibly end in disaster.

    1. Beloved NJ Gov. Corzine nearly killed himself when the SUV in which he was traveling was going 91mph in a 65 when it crashed while he wasn’t wearing a safety belt.

      I LOL’d.

      1. Oh, and he was on his way to meeting with Don Imus whom he was scheduled to upbraid for politically objectionable speech.

        Ceaseless are the LULZ!

        (The correct reason to fire Imus is that he’s a talentless bore who’s only barely tolerable b/c he has a funny sidekick.)

      2. I LOL’d.

        I’d have LOL’d if he had survived the impact and then died in the ensuing fire.

  3. The King can do as he likes.

  4. The depth of depravity here in Iowa is truly shocking.

    1. Look at the soil around Des Moines, Stuart–you can’t build on it, you can’t grow anything in it. The government says it’s due to poor farming!

      1. I learn the most interesting shit hanging out at H&R.

        1. You know what, kinnath? I like you! You’re not like the other people, here in the comment threads!

    2. Interesting that Des Moines may have been named after the native term for ‘shit-faces’.

  5. 90? Is that all? I say we all insist politicians drive even faster. I humbly submit that the minimum speed for all politicians should be escape velocity.

  6. “career doesn’t have enough problems the way it is”

    I did chuckle when I read the local report this morning.

  7. dispatchers, according to the recordings released to The Associated Press, laughed after learning the vehicle in question was the governor’s.

    Looking forward to hearing those recordings.

    “That car can’t have a governor. It’s going fucking *90*!”

  8. Days later, the department placed the investigator who initiated the pursuit, Special Agent in Charge Larry Hedlund, on administrative leave.

    So a special agent in charge was pulling traffic duty?

    1. Next up: Special Agent Hedlund reappears in Hong Kong ….

    2. From the Register:

      Audio records obtained by the Register on Tuesday show it was Hedlund who first alerted state authorities to a fast-moving sport utility vehicle traveling on Highway 20. Dispatchers did not immediately know who was in the vehicle because the Tahoe’s registration apparently was not recorded in computerized state records. Telephone recordings have Hedlund calling out mile markers as authorities worked to intercept the speeding vehicle, which eventually was clocked by troopers at 84 mph.

      Since these are “telephone” records, it appears that Hedlund was calling in a report and asking dispatch to send a patrol car to deal with the problem.

      1. the Tahoe’s registration apparently was not recorded in computerized state records.

        *** facepalm ***

  9. From Officer Hedlund’s greatest hits:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFCpU50NDac

  10. SC Lt. Gov Andre Bauer was pulled over multiple times for speeding–once for speeding through red lights in downtown Columbia. I liked the part where they held him at gunpoint.

    For to linky:

    http://www.wistv.com/Global/story.asp?S=4692514

  11. “He can start by not speeding.”

    Hey – knock it off. Its very rarely speeding alone that does harm. Mainly its speed *differentials* which would not be as prevalent if legislatures set speed limits at reasonable velocities. I mean, 65 mph on the interstate in the middle of no-where, are you kidding me.

    If you want to hit the governor, then hit him on violating a law he’s sworn to uphold, not that breaking that law is dangerous.

  12. AP’s account does not comport with USA today and the Des Moines Register and television’s account.

    The DCI agent was fired. The Governor has not reinstated him. Shame!

    Typical of Branstad. Has contempt for all his employees.

    Another instance of Arrogance of Power.

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