MO: No duty of care owed by police to fleeing motorist

There was no duty owed to a fleeing motorist who killed himself and his passenger in flight. The police owed a duty to the rest of the locale to stop them. This was reasonable under Scott. Neil v. St. Louis Cty., 2024 Mo. App. LEXIS 232 (Apr. 9, 2024).

A wealth of reasonable suspicion: “But even if the deputies’ questions were irrelevant or unrelated to the traffic violation, they did not prolong the stop because the deputies asked them in the approximately five minutes while the deputies requested and obtained Drury’s driver’s license and then ran criminal history checks. By the time those checks returned, the deputies had gathered the following facts: the be-on-the-lookout notice; the stop’s remote location and proximity to known drug users; Drury’s latex gloves; surveillance equipment on the motorhome; Drury locking the motorhome as he stepped out; the incorrect bill of sale and lack of proper registration; the tool markings on the motorcycle’s misplaced gas tank; and Drury’s inconsistent statements about his travel, acquiring the motor home, and reason for being in the area. The district court properly determined these facts established not only reasonable suspicion that justified prolonging the stop, but probable cause to seize and search the motorhome.” United States v. Drury, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 8732 (9th Cir. Apr. 11, 2024).*

Reasonable minds can differ as to what constitutes probable cause, and that’s why the issuing magistrate’s signing off on it is entitled to great deference. “Probable cause is not a high bar,” and the totality showed it here. United States v. Cage, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45847 (D. Minn. Mar. 15, 2024).*

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