6/8/2008Missouri: Woman Handcuffed for Waiting to Stop in Lit Area
Young female motorist who feared that unmarked car may have been driven by police impersonator is handcuffed because she waited to stop in a well-lit area.
Motorists followed by an unmarked car with flashing police-style lights are often told to activate their flashing emergency lights and wait for the nearest well-lit area before pulling over. An attractive young female motorist who followed this advice found herself held at gunpoint, handcuffed and searched by real police officers in Greene County, Missouri last week.
Just before 2:40am on June 5, twenty-two-year-old Vanessa Kimery passed through one of the state's many speed traps. An unmarked police cruiser pulled behind her vehicle and activated its lights. Kimery immediately put on her flashers and slowed to acknowledge the vehicle behind. She then drove less than a mile to the nearest well-lit area, a convenience store parking lot. For this, Kimery was ordered out of the car at gunpoint and surrounded by three police deputies.
"Put your hands up where we can see them," a sheriff's deputy yelled. "Hands up. Hands up. Turn around. Keep your hands up."
Kimery was handcuffed and led by one deputy away from her vehicle so that the another could enter it to conduct a search. Kimery, in hysterics, was checked for signs of intoxication by two officers who were calm and polite throughout the interrogation. One asked why she was being so emotional.
"Because you put me in cuffs!" she cried. "I'm sorry. I put my flashers on. I thought you could do that."
Kimery had feared that the unmarked car may have been driven by a police impersonator. Exactly one year ago, two women were attacked in Howell County by by a man driving a Ford Crown Victoria with red-and-blue lights mounted on the dash. Several other states have similar problems with robbers and rapists taking advantage of police use of unmarked cars to trap their victims on dark, rural roads.
The deputies released Kimery after writing her a ticket for allegedly driving 10 MPH over the limit and failing to yield to a police vehicle. In the wake of bad publicity on the local television station that broke the story, KYTV, police agreed to drop the failure to yield charge.
View video of incident.