because (1) the car was legally parked and did not hinder traffic, (2) Hucker should have investigated
whether the teenage passenger could have driven the car from the scene, and (3) the car actually was
insured. The State responded that, at the time of the stop, Hucker had no affirmative duty to
investigate defendant’s undocumented claim that the car was insured or to ask the teenage passenger
if she was eligible to drive the car from the scene. In fact, the State argued that defendant, not
Hucker, had the burden of showing proof of insurance and that her failure to meet that burden created
a presumption that the car was uninsured. According to the State, defendant’s suspended license
and the presumption of a lack of insurance required that the car be impounded.
The trial court agreed with defendant and suppressed the evidence. The court emphasized
that, although there was no insurance card in defendant’s vehicle, the car was, in fact, insured. The
court found that, when the car was stopped, it was legally parked in a residentialarea. The court also
found that there was evidence of a Zion police department oral policy that called for towing and
impounding a vehicle when the driver lacks insurance and a valid driver’s license, but that there was
“no evidence” of a written policy or an ordinance.
The court found that the department’s oralpolicy provided for no exceptions to towing, such
as when proof of insurance “could be readily available,” the car is parked legally, and the car could
be removed by a passenger or someone else. The court found that, while there was “no evidence”
that the teenage passenger was a licensed driver, she might have been licensed and the of icer did not
investigate the matter.
The trial court held that “there were alternative means here that were reasonable for the
of icer to have taken that would not violate the fourth amendment.” The court emphasized that,
before initiating the tow, Hucker should have determined whether the teenage passenger could