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No. 2—09—0833

impound the vehicle. While waiting for the tow truck, Hucker began an inventory search of the

vehicle, using a “vehicle tow report,” which is a form used by Zion police officers. While defendant

was in the backseat of the squad car and the two passengers stood nearby, the two of icers filled out

the tow report with defendant’s information, the condition of the vehicle, and the property found

inside. Under the driver’s seat, Hucker found a half of a bright yellow tablet inside a small blue

plastic bag. Based on his experience, Hucker suspected that the pill was ecstasy. On the tow report,

Hucker checked boxes showing that the reasons for the tow were the narcotics seizure and the

arrestee’s control of the vehicle. Defendant was transported to the police station, where Hucker told

her that he found a pill in her car.

Hucker testified that the Zion police department has guidelines for impounding a vehicle. An

officer conducts an inventory search if the vehicle is impounded. The entire car is searched for any

items of value, and the items are noted on the tow report to protect the defendant’s property and to

protect the department from false claims of loss. The search is not designed to discover narcotics or

other kinds of contraband, but if the officer comes across something that looks like contraband, he

investigates further. Hucker testified that the department guidelines are “oral and written” but not

specified by ordinance.

Hucker testified that he did not bother to ask the teenage passenger if she could drive the car,

because no one could operate the car legally if it was uninsured. Although defendant could not

produce an insurance card, she told Hucker that the car was insured. Hucker did not ask for the

name of the insurance company.

During argument, the parties stipulated that defendant’s car was, in fact, insured at the time

of the traffic stop. Defendant argued that the impoundment and inventory search were improper

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