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State of Iowa v. Jeffrey Brian Meadows

March 13, 2013

STATE OF IOWA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JEFFREY BRIAN MEADOWS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cerro Gordo County, Gerald W. Magee (motion to suppress) and Colleen D. Weiland (trial), Judges.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Doyle, J.

Jeffrey Meadows appeals his conviction for operating while intoxicated, first offense. AFFIRMED.

Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Doyle, JJ.

Jeffrey Meadows appeals following his conviction and sentence for operating while intoxicated, first offense, in violation of Iowa Code section 321J.2 (2011). He contends the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress, alleging the arresting deputy did not have reasonable suspicion to stop his vehicle. Upon our review, we affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings

At approximately 2:45 a.m. on August 12, 2011, FedEx truck driver James Bennien was travelling southbound on Interstate 35 from Minneapolis when a vehicle entered the highway from an on-ramp "shot straight across both lanes and . . . almost went into the median." Bennien dialed 911 to report the vehicle, stating his concern about the condition of the driver. The vehicle then "zigzagged off to the shoulder" and Bennien "kind of forgot about him for awhile."

Ten to twelve miles later, "out of the blue" the vehicle passed Bennien again, "this time he was going very fast" and then it "slowed down again erratically." Bennien saw the vehicle "was swerving constantly, back and forth, back and forth." Bennien was now in Iowa; he dialed 911 to report the vehicle again. Bennien described his observations and told the dispatcher the location of the vehicle, the direction it was headed, as well as its make, model, and license plate number.

Cerro Gordo County Deputy Sheriff Cameron Manson learned of "a possible intoxicated or tired driver southbound on the interstate" from the dispatcher. Deputy Manson positioned himself in the median of the highway and "approximately one minute" later he identified the vehicle. He followed the vehicle for "a very short distance" and noticed "some weaving, it touched the white fog line and then it corrected back onto the road" before he stopped the vehicle. He stated he stopped the vehicle based on his observations and the complaint received from the dispatcher. Specifically, Deputy Manson stated he learned three things from the dispatch: the vehicle was "changing speeds," it was "going onto the shoulder and back on the roadway," and it was "having a hard time maintaining lanes."

The driver of the vehicle was Jeffrey Meadows. Meadows stated he had two drinks earlier in the day. He failed field sobriety tests. His blood alcohol content was subsequently determined to be over the legal limit.

The State charged Meadows with operating while intoxicated, first offense. Meadows filed a motion to suppress, alleging Deputy Manson did not have probable cause or reasonable suspicion to stop his vehicle. Bennien and Deputy Manson testified at the evidentiary hearing on Meadows' motion to suppress. Following the hearing, the district court denied the motion to suppress, finding Deputy Manson had a reasonable suspicion criminal activity was afoot based on the information provided by Bennien and his own observations.

Meadows waived his right to a jury trial and the district court found him guilty of operating while intoxicated based on the minutes of testimony. Meadows now appeals, alleging the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress.

II. Standard of Review

Because Meadows contends the stop violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and article I, section 8 of the Iowa Constitution, we review his claim de novo. See State v. Fleming, 790 N.W.2d 560, 563 (Iowa 2010). We independently evaluate the totality of the circumstances as shown by the entire record. State v. Tague, 676 N.W.2d 197, 201 (Iowa 2004). While we give considerable ...


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