State v. Allen, 197 N.C. App. 208 (May. 19, 2009)

Reasonable suspicion existed for a stop. An assault victim reported to a responding officer that the perpetrator was a tall white male who left in a small dark car driven by a blonde, white female. The officer saw a small, light-colored vehicle travelling away from the scene; driver was a blonde female. The driver abruptly turned into a parking lot and drove quickly over rough pavement. When the officer approached, the defendant was leaning on the vehicle and appeared intoxicated. Although there was a passenger in the car, the officer could not determine if the passenger was male or female. The officer questioned the defendant, determined that she was not involved in the assault, but arrested her for impaired driving. The court held that although there was no information in the record about the victim’s identity, this was not an anonymous tip case; it was a face-to-face encounter with an officer that carried a higher indicia of reliability than an anonymous tip. Additionally, the officer’s actions were not based solely on the tip. The officer observed the defendant’s “hurried actions,” it appeared that the defendant was trying to avoid the officer, and the defendant was in the proximity of the crime scene. Even though the defendant’s vehicle did not match the description given by the victim, the totality of the circumstances supported a finding of reasonable suspicion.