Man pulled over for speeding has wrong plates on vehicle

While on patrol on July 4 at approximately 5:00 PM, a Safford police officer observed a Dodge truck turn onto 20th street and quickly accelerate to 52 MPH in a 25 MPH zone. The officer confirmed the speed with radar as the truck traveled toward the officer.

The officer turned around and caught up to the truck at the intersection of Highway 191 and 20th Street. The officer ran the license plate of the truck and discovered that the license plate belonged on a 2003 Kia, which did not match the Dodge truck.

The officer activated his emergency lights and pulled the truck over. As he approached the vehicle, the driver stuck his head out the window and said that he knew the plates did not match. The officer informed him that he had also pulled him over for excessive speed. The officer requested the driver’s license, registration and insurance and asked if the driver had put the license on the vehicle. The driver admitted that he had and said that he didn’t have the money to register the truck yet so he took the license plate off of his van. While speaking with the driver, the officer noticed he appeared to be grinding his teeth and had a rigid posture. A male passenger was apparently avoiding contact with the officer.

While looking for his insurance, the driver informed the officer that his license was suspended for failure to appear on a citation. The officer pointed out that the occupants of the truck seemed nervous and asked them why, but they declined to say. Because of their behavior, the officer requested another unit to assist.

The officer looked for a VIN on the truck but it was obscured. At that point the officer had the driver exit the vehicle and asked the passengers to remain in the truck. The officer asked the driver if there was anything illegal on his person and he said, “no.” When the officer asked if there was anything illegal in the vehicle, the driver said that he was not sure and looked inside. The officer asked what the man thought might be in the vehicle and he said that he didn’t know.

The officer asked the male and female passengers what they had in the truck and they said, “nothing.” The male passenger kept looking around and fidgeting. He told the officer that he was “just tripping about his dog,” but then admitted that he thought he had a warrant for his arrest. Dispatch confirmed a felony warrant for the man. Authorities placed him under arrest and searched him. The man volunteered that he had had a broken pipe in his pocket that he used for meth. He was placed in the back of a patrol car while officers searched the truck and spoke to the driver.

During the search the officer found a digital scale on the floor where the male passenger had been sitting. A plastic container with a hole poked in it and residue inside was found stuffed inside the passenger door panel. The passenger who had been arrested on a warrant admitted that the items were his. Other drug paraphernalia was also found inside the vehicle.

Authorities were able to locate the VIN of the truck and verified that it was not stolen. The driver denied any knowledge of drug paraphernalia and insisted that he had never used meth but admitted smoking CBD and marijuana recently.

The driver was placed under arrest for aggravated DUI, possession of dangerous drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was transported to the Safford police department where an officer drew blood for a drug screening. The vehicle was towed from the scene and the passenger with the warrant was booked into jail.

Charges for the driver are pending.