Truck’s ‘excessive’ smoke justified traffic stop

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that a police officer had reasonable suspicion to pull over a driver after seeing his truck emit an “excessive” amount of smoke.

On interlocutory appeal, Tyler Veerkamp challenged the denial of his motion to suppress evidence following his stop by Greensburg Police. Officer Justin Wells was driving behind Veerkamp and pulled him over after Veerkamp’s truck spit out so much smoke that Wells said he couldn’t see Veerkamp’s left tail light. As a result of the stop, he believed Veerkamp was under the influence of alcohol and he faces a charge of Class D felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

The trial court denied Veerkamp’s motion to suppress after finding he committed a Class C infraction by violating I.C. 9-19-8-5, which provides that “[t]he engine and power mechanism of a motor vehicle must be equipped and adjusted so as to prevent the escape of excessive fumes and smoke.” Thus, the Officer had reasonable suspicion to pull him over.

The Court of Appeals affirmed in Tyler J. Veerkamp v. State of Indiana, 16A01-1310-CR-439, in which Judge Rudolph Pyle III noted that the term “excessive” in the statute hadn’t been defined, but based on the dictionary definition, the trial court did not err in determining the smoke coming from his truck was excessive. The judges rejected Veerkamp’s claims that the stop violated his federal and state constitutional rights.

“We hold that a law enforcement officer has probable cause that Indiana Code 9-19-8-5 has been violated when fumes or smoke emanating from the engine or power mechanism of a motor vehicle completely obscure a motorist’s view of a portion of the vehicle being followed,” Pyle wrote.



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  1. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

  2. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.

  3. maybe if some of the socia workers would treat the foster parents better, they would continue to fostr.

  4. We have been asked to take in a 2 no old baby because mother is in very unstable situation. We want to do this but will need help with expenses such as medical and formula... Do we have to have custody thru court?

  5. Very troubling. A competent public defender is very much the right of every indigent person in the US or the Fifth amendment becomes meaningless. And considering more and more of us are becoming poorer and poorer under this "system," the need for this are greater than ever.... maybe they should study the Federals and see how they manage their program? And here's to thanking all the PD attorneys out there who do a good job.