State v. Brown, 217 N.C. App. 566 (Dec. 20, 2011)

The trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence of his alleged impairment where the evidence was the fruit of an illegal stop. An officer who was surveying an area in the hope of locating robbery suspects saw the defendant pull off to the side of a highway in a wooded area. The officer heard yelling and car doors slamming. Shortly thereafter, the defendant accelerated rapidly past the officer, but not to a speed warranting a traffic violation. Thinking that the defendant may have been picking up the robbery suspects, the officer followed the defendant for almost a mile. Although he observed no traffic violations, the officer pulled over the defendant’s vehicle. The officer did not have any information regarding the direction in which the suspects fled, nor did he have a description of the getaway vehicle. The officer’s reason for pulling over the defendant’s vehicle did not amount to the reasonable, articulable suspicion necessary to warrant a Terry stop.