State v. Maready, 362 N.C. 614 (Dec. 12, 2008)

Reasonable suspicion supported the officer’s stop of a vehicle in a case in which the defendant was convicted of second-degree murder and other charges involving a vehicle crash and impaired driving. Officers saw an intoxicated man stumble across the road and enter a Honda. They then were flagged down by a vehicle that they observed driving in front of the Honda. The vehicle’s driver, who was distraught, told them that the driver of the Honda had been running stop signs and stop lights. The officers conducted an investigatory stop of the Honda, and the defendant was driving. The court considered the following facts as supporting the indicia of reliability of the informant’s tip: the tipster had been driving in front of the Honda and thus had firsthand knowledge of the reported traffic violations; the driver’s own especially cautious driving and apparent distress were consistent with what one would expect of a person who had observed erratic driving; the driver approached the officers in person and gave them information close in time and place to the scene of the alleged violations, with little time to fabricate; and because the tip was made face-to-face, the driver was not entirely anonymous.

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