Thursday, October 22, 2015

About that Minnesota lady who got pulled over for drinking coffee

So we had a pretty good cuss-n-discuss over the story about a St. Paul woman who says a cop pulled her over for drinking coffee and gave her a ticket when the incident was brought up during our morning news meeting. There was probably a bit more cussing than discussing, frankly.

We didn’t quite have all the facts at our fingertips in that initial meeting, and if you’ve only seen the headlines, chances are you may be feeling a little heated about it yourself. I mean, that sort of thing takes “drinking and driving” enforcement to a whole different level.

If you missed it, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune has a nice write-up here. Per the report, the joe-sipping driver, 36-year-old Lindsay Krieger, says she was pulled over on eastbound Interstate 94 during the Wednesday morning rush hour by a state trooper whom she says gave her a dressing down on the dangers of drinking anything while driving.

“She kept asking, ‘Why did I pull you over?’ ” Krieger told the newspaper. “And I really, honestly had no idea. ‘It’s the coffee. Drinking coffee and driving is against the law.’ I was not doing anything wrong.”

When reached for comment, a spokeswoman for the state patrol says the trooper stopped Krieger for not wearing a seat belt, not for drinking coffee. Patrol spokeswoman Lt. Tiffani Schweigart did say that the trooper apparently told Krieger that she often sees spilled coffee and other similar situations at crash sites where “drivers are trying to do too many things at once.”

The article notes that Minnesota hasn’t got any laws on the books explicitly prohibiting drivers from drinking coffee while behind the wheel, but such an act could be considered inattentive driving, a charge more commonly leveled at drivers using cell phones. Krieger was not ticketed for inattentive driving; only for the seat belt violation. She disputes that charge as well.

Amazingly, Krieger claims this isn’t the first time she’s incurred the wrath of Minnesota justice for ingesting whilst driving. The paper claims she acknowledged having been busted in her early 20s for “eating Cheerios out of a cup while waiting in line to make a turn.”

Truckers who’ve had dealings with Minnesota State Patrol in the past probably won’t be as willing to give the cop the benefit of the doubt here. After all, this is the same agency that had to be sued by OOIDA to quit harassing drivers with their de facto fatigue regulations in 2009. Cops would ask questions of truckers about their neck size, urination habits, and whether or not they had any Playboy magazines in the cab, in order to determine whether the driver was fatigued.

What’s the craziest reason you’ve ever been pulled over for? Tell us in the comments.