With his motion to suppress evidence obtained during a search at his arrest denied by Judge Jim Fallon, Dustin Michael Engelke of Denison is set for trial early next year on a charge of possession of a controlled substance between four and 200 grams.
On July 10, Denison Police Officer Kristian Jakovac stopped Engelke, after reportedly seeing him run through a red light. The information and evidence obtained at that traffic stop resulted in the arrest of Engelke on several charges, including the second-degree felony charge of possession of a controlled substance between four and 200 grams. Engelke has been in Grayson County Jail in lieu of a total of $23,000 bail since.
The orange jumpsuit-clad Engelke stood while Judge Fallon read the motion to suppress aloud during a recent hearing. The motion had been filed by his attorney Kyle Kemp, who called the search unreasonable and without warrant.
“We believe it will show it (the search) was an inventory search prior to impoundment (of the motorcycle),” Assistant District Attorney Kerye Ashmore said, setting the testimony into motion.
Jakovac’s testimony was that he witnessed Engelke riding a motorcycle, slowly, through a red light. Jakovac turned on his patrol car’s lights and siren and, he said, Engelke pulled the motorcycle over, after swerving to avoid a fallen limb in the roadway, about 100 feet later. Soon afterward, a pickup arrived at the scene and parked nearby. Officer Travis Mullican, arrived about 20 minutes later, according to testimony, as backup “for officer safety.” Jakovac stated that the information he obtained on Engelke and the motorcycle was Engelke driver’s license was invalid and he had a previous conviction of driving while license invalid; the motorcycle ownership could not positively be determined because of the paper tag it bore; and the insurance on the motorcycle was expired.
During that time, testimony indicated, Engelke tried to phone the man from whom, he said, he was buying the motorcycle. But, that attempt was unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, the driver of the pickup had moved over and was holding the motorcycle up because its kickstand was broken. The officer said that Engelke told him the pickup driver, a friend, was there to help him jumpstart the motorcycle, which according to Engelke, did not function well.
Because of Engelke’s previous conviction of driving while license invalid, and that being a charge in the July 10 incident as well, it became an offense that could lead to arrest. The decision then had to be made whether to turn custody of the motorcycle over to the pickup driver or have it impounded.
The officers testified that there was no type of ramp to move the 800-pound Kawasaki motorcycle onto the pickup, and that it was too heavy for one person to lift up himself. They also said, under oath, that the pickup’s bed was laden with “construction related items, maybe all kinds of junk in it,” which also would have prohibited the driver from loading the motorcycle. Also, the inability to determine the bike’s ownership influenced Jakovac’s decision to impound.
Both attorneys questioned Denison PD’s policy about impound procedures, and both officers testified that it required a thorough search and written inventory of all items on or in a vehicle.
Jakovac began that process, he testified. During the inventory search, he found a black bag, and inside that bag was another bag — a zipper plastic bag — which contained “a large amount of crystal-like substance, and a pipe.” That substance later tested to be 134.28 grams of methamphetamine. There were no personal items listed on the motorcycle inventory sheet, Jakovac added.
Engelke sat through most of the hearing with a grin, agreeing and disagreeing with much of the testimony. When he commented out loud, Judge Fallon had him move over to the table beside Kemp, so he could talk privately with his attorney, but not out loud in the courtroom. Kemp did not call him to the stand.
Kemp brought into evidence two discs which, he said and marked on their cover, were Jakovac’s and Mullican’s in-patrol-car videos taken at the arrest. He asked Fallon to view both of them, “not necessarily in open court,” before making his decision as to whether or not to suppress the evidence obtained at the time of the arrest. Ashmore did not object. Fallon agreed, said he would let the attorneys know when he made his decision, and took the discs with him as he adjourned court.