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DPS Investigates Governor Speeding Scandal
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- State troopers in pursuit of a speeding SUV failed to pull the vehicle over after realizing that Gov. Terry Branstad was the passenger, according to police dispatch audio released on Tuesday.
The speeding incident, which happened in April, is now under investigation by the Iowa Department of Public Safety, after the officer who called in the situation, Agent Larry Hedlund, was put on administrative leave after questioning the decision.
The dispatch audio reveals that the call started like any other; Hedlund had spotted a speeding SUV on Highway 20 near Fort Dodge that state troopers need to catch.
"I've got an officer on the phone. He's advising there's a black SUV running at least 90 (mph) westbound at the 167 mile marker on 20," said a dispatcher.
The situation soon changed, however, when dispatchers said the license plate of the SUV wasn't on file -- until they realized who it was.
"Did you get the wind, word on whose that vehicle was? I guess my career doesn't have enough problems as it is. It was the governor," Hedlund said during a call.
Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds were both in the SUV, a fact that dispatchers later acknowledged, when the SUV was never pulled over.
"I'm sure they realize you guys are out there doing your job, right?" said a dispatcher.
The whole situation seems to be taken lightly, by both the officer and dispatchers, who laugh at various parts during the calls.
Eventually, Hedlund asks for a file report of the situation to keep for his records.
"Just in case it becomes an issue, I want to be able to have some documentation on part," Hedlund said.
Which he may have needed when he was suspended for alleged insubordination and rules violations days later.
In a statement, representatives from Gov. Branstad's office said that Hedlund's suspension was not related to the speeding incident.
The full statement from the office is as follows:
"We have public safety professionals who drive the governor and lieutenant governor throughout Iowa’s 99 counties. We have great faith and trust in Iowa’s law enforcement officials to ensure the safety of the governor and all Iowans. The governor and lieutenant governor were in the vehicle, but were unaware this event had occurred. When we learned the DPS would be sending a release regarding this event, the governor was informed of the incident this morning."