The Iowa Department of Public Safety continues to investigate whether a state trooper made a legitimate traffic stop Sunday while driving an unmarked SUV carrying Governor Chet Culver and Culver’s 7-year-old son John. Trooper Michael Clyde said another vehicle cut him off and a passenger made an obscene gesture.
Clyde turned on flashing red and blue lights and pursued the car, driven by Edwin Allen. Allen did not pull over until three West Des Moines police cars became involved. Allen was not ticketed. West Des Moines police spokesperson Lieutenant Jeff Miller says any citations would come from the Iowa State Patrol.
“It’s a State Patrol case. We just helped the State Patrol. If they want to ticket (Allen), they sure could. I don’t know what they would ticket him for since I don’t know what violations, if any, he was guilty of,” Miller said.
Allen admitted to a Des Moines TV station that his wife flipped off the trooper, who was in plain clothes. Allen claims the trooper was driving erratically and caused him to swerve into a curb. Lieutenant Miller says the West Des Moines police officers were called by Iowa State Patrol dispatch to help stop the car and they did not witness Allen violate any traffic laws.
“He never tried to elude the police,” Miller said of Allen. “He just didn’t want to stop for this unmarked car with somebody driving in plain clothes. When he saw our marked cars, he stopped right away.”
Allen filed a formal complaint about the trooper’s actions on Monday with the Iowa Department of Public Safety. Governor Culver has not spoken with the media about the incident.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Terry Branstad was asked today at a campaign event if the state trooper who drove him when he was governor ever tried to pull someone over.
“No nothing like that ever happened,” Branstad said. He said he was not there during the incident with Governor Culver, and he doesn’t feel it is appropriate to make any more comment on the issue. Branstad is hoping to win the June primary and challenge Culver in November to try and win his fifth term.