of possession of meth
A Nebraska woman was found guilty of possessing
methamphetamine after a bench trial featuring
testimony about an unusual arrest by the commander
of the Platte County jail.
Denise Davis, 34, of Omaha, was convicted at
trial on Friday of felony possession of methamphetamine.
Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said, This
case began with a rare traffic stop by a captain
of the Platte County Sheriffs Department
who oversees operations at the county jail. Normally,
his duties do not include traffic enforcement,
but this defendants aggressive and dangerous
driving got her stopped, and a search of her car
got her charged with drug possession.
At trial, Zahnds office presented testimony
that on Sept. 12, 2002 Platte County Jail Commander
Randy Pittman and another member of the Platte
County Sheriffs Department were driving
on I-29 in an unmarked car. Pittman said he saw
a car dangerously speed up to the rear of his
vehicle. Pittman changed lanes to allow the car
Pittman then pursued the vehicle when it became
apparent the drivers erratic driving posed
a danger to other travelers and herself. Pittman
testified that Davis car was speeding, weaving
in and out of lanes, and following too close to
other vehicles on the highway.
A nearby Missouri Highway Patrol trooper who
was monitoring radio transmissions responded to
the scene after Pittman pulled the driver over.
The trooper testified that he recognized it was
uncommon for a captain in the sheriffs department
to make a traffic stop and decided to assist.
Pittman testified at trial that, as a former
undercover narcotics detective, he found Davis
behavior consistent with illegal drug abuse. Methamphetamines
were found in Davis purse during a search
of her vehicle for weapons and illegal substances.
Although the defendant denied ever seeing
the drugs before, prosecutors in my office proved
beyond a reasonable doubt at trial that she possessed
the drugs and knew of their dangerousness,
Davis blamed Crohns Disease and other ailments
for her behavior during the traffic stop. Zahnds
office, however, presented testimony at trial
that people who suffer Crohns Disease do
not exhibit the behavior Davis exhibited.
Three witnesses from the Platte County Sheriffs
Department and a Highway Patrol Trooper testified
We work closely with officers from the
Sheriffs Department and the Highway Patrol
on a daily basis, Zahnd said. Still,
its not every day that the lead witness
in a trial that started out as a traffic stop
is a captain in the Platte County Sheriffs
Department and the commander of the detention
Zahnd added, It is good to know that every
member of the sheriffs department is working
to keep our roads safe, even if that is not their
assigned duty. Captain Pittmans excellent
police work was invaluable in convicting this