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State v. Seils

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 15, 2019

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TIMOTHY DOUGLAS SEILS, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Warren County, Kevin A. Parker, District Associate Judge.

         The defendant challenges the denial of his motion to suppress following his conviction for operating while intoxicated, third offense.

          Robert G. Rehkemper of Gourley, Rehkemper & Lindholm, PLC, West Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Heard by Potterfield, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.

          POTTERFIELD, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         Timothy Seils challenges the district court's denial of his motion to suppress following his conviction for operating while intoxicated, third offense. Seils maintains police officers (1) violated his constitutional rights when they searched his vehicle and (2) improperly invoked implied consent pursuant to Iowa Code section 321J.6 (2017) without satisfying the statutory conditions precedent. He asks that we reverse the district court's denial of the motion to suppress and remand for new trial.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         On the night of January 26, 2017, Erin Goering called 911 and reported a white Chevrolet Silverado truck that was "swerving all over the road [at] a very high speed." Goering was a passenger in a vehicle that continued to follow the truck for approximately ten minutes. During that time, she stayed on the phone with dispatch, reporting the truck was passing other cars aggressively, failing to stay between the lines, and alternating between driving at high rates of speed and braking. Goering remained on the line until the Iowa State Trooper who was dispatched to find the truck drove past them. She ultimately reported to dispatch that she lost sight of the truck but that a number of vehicles were taking the next exit-the St. Charles exit-and the truck could be one of them.

         Trooper Jonathan Salesberry was near the location reported by Goering. He located a vehicle that matched the description as the vehicle took the St. Charles exit. At the top of the exit ramp, Trooper Salesberry witnessed the vehicle take a right-hand turn too wide, veering into the lane of oncoming traffic before correcting. Almost immediately after, the truck signaled it was going to turn into a driveway, and Salesberry activated the emergency lights on his squad car. The driver of the truck, who officers later determined was Seils, continued driving-making the turn into the driveway, driving "a couple hundred feet" down the driveway, and then pulling into the garage. Trooper Salesberry and Seils exited their respective vehicles, and Salesberry instructed Seils to come out of the garage and talk to him. According to Salesberry's later testimony, he immediately noticed that Seils's "gait or balance was a little bit off." He also noticed Seils had "bloodshot and watery eyes," "an odor of alcoholic beverage coming from him," and had to lean on Salesberry's squad car a few times while he was standing in the driveway.

         At about the same time, Troopers Darren Flaherty and Deborah Stine each pulled into the driveway behind Salesberry's squad car. Because Trooper Salesberry was outside of his district, he asked Trooper Flaherty to take over the investigation for operating while intoxicated (OWI).

         Trooper Flaherty asked Seils to complete some field sobriety tests, which Seils refused to do. Then, as Flaherty walked back toward his squad car to place his OWI booklet in it, Seils began walking toward the door of his home. Trooper Flaherty ordered him to stop, and Seils broke into a run, getting partway into his home before Flaherty pulled him back out and got him to the ground. With the assistance of Salesberry and Stine, Flaherty placed Seils in handcuffs. Seils asked, "Are you seriously arresting me," and Flaherty responded, "Yes, I am." Seils was told, "Now you're going for interference" and was placed in Flaherty's squad car.

         While Seils was handcuffed and seated in the squad car, Troopers Salesberry and Stine entered Seils's garage and went into his truck, finding and removing a six-pack of beer from the passenger compartment. At least one of the beer bottles was open and partially empty.

         Trooper Flaherty then transported Seils to a local jail, where he invoked Seils's implied consent to a ...


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