In March of 2017, I drove from Dickinson, North Dakota back to my home in Idaho, towing a car trailer. There was a very bad snow storm on the way there. The roads were in better condition on the drive back to North Dakota, but there was still ice and snow on the road in some areas.
In order to not have an accident or problems, I drove 60-65 mph on the interstate, where the posted speed limit was 65 mph for tractor trucks, and 75 mph for other vehicles. The car trailer that I was towing was empty on the drive back to Dickinson, North Dakota, but I still drove at 60-65 mph.
When I was on the return drive through western Montana, there was a dark color vehicle stopped on the right shoulder of the interstate with no lights on, and no one outside of the vehicle. Two drivers in front of me changed into the left lane, so I changed into the left lane too. I did not know if this was a broken down vehicle on the shoulder of the interstate, I could not tell what it was.
Within a few minutes, a Montana Highway Patrol car drove up beside me with its flashing lights on. I pulled over and stopped. The Montana Highway Patrol Officer told me that I was speeding, and that I had changed lanes without signalling.
I knew that I was not speeding, I was going well under the speed limit, and I suspected that this Highway Patrol Officer wanted to stop me so that he could try to detect some type of crime or criminal activity. He questioned me three times about what I was doing and where I was going, in order to try to detect or discover inconsistencies in my story, giving him probable cause to search my vehicle.
When I said to him, “Are you trying to profile me as some drug person from Idaho?” He asked me to come back to his vehicle with him. He questioned me a couple more times about what I was doing and where I was going. I went into more and more detail each time, and he got tired of listening to me, and he let me go with a citation for “failure to where a seat belt”.
A few days later, I wrote a blog post titled “Almost Getting Caught By The Montana Highway Patrol With 20 Pounds Of Methamphetamine”. I was angry that I was stopped and questioned, even though I was not doing anything wrong, and I was actually driving under the speed limit.
Several days ago, in February of 2018, I had to drive from Dickinson, North Dakota back to Idaho for an appointment with a dermatologist. Again there was a bad snow storm, which left snow and ice on the interstate for several days. Today, I was driving back to Dickinson on the interstate in western Montana, going 60-65 mph in an area where the speed limit for tractor trucks is 65 mph, and other vehicles 80 mph, when a Montana Highway Patrol Car pulled up behind me and was pacing me.
In order to catch up to me on the interstate, the Montana Highway Patrol Officer had to be travelling at 70-75 mph. But once he caught up to me, he wanted to stay behind me, even though I was driving 60-65 mph. This Highway Patrol Officer did not have any interest in several vehicles that passed me in the left lane going quite a bit faster than me, while he was behind me.
The Montana Highway Patrol Officer was probably hoping to find some reason to stop me, such as “failure to maintain lane”, “failing to use turn signal to change lanes”, something, anything. I didn’t like this Montana Highway Patrol Officer staying behind me in the hope that he could stop me for something, when I wasn’t doing anything wrong.
In the next town, Livingston, Montana, I stopped and I telephoned the Montana Highway Patrol Headquarters in Helena, and I spoke to a Sergeant in administration. I told him that in March of 2017 I had been stopped by the Montana Highway Patrol in this same area when I was driving slightly under the speed limit, and here again today when I was driving slightly under the speed limit, I had a Montana Highway Patrol Officer pull up behind me, ignore other vehicles, and pace me hoping to find a reason to stop me, when I was not doing anything wrong.
I said that I felt that they were profiling me because I was driving an older vehicle, and that the Highway Patrol must think that it would be safe for them to question me because I probably wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.
The Sergeant in administration at the Montana Highway Patrol Headquarters understood that I did not like being stopped and questioned by the Highway Patrol when I was not doing anything wrong or illegal, and that I did not like being followed, checked out, seeking to find some reason to stop me, when I was not doing anything wrong or illegal.
The Highway Patrol in Montana does not want to come out and admit it, but if you fit the description of what they believe a drug person is, this is what will happen to you in western Montana.