OTTERBEIN, Ind. (WLFI) — An Otterbein woman was pulled over by the Indiana State Police for what she thought would be a routine traffic stop, but she was left feeling bullied.
“As soon as I turned my head and started talking to him, that’s when he started asking me about prior drug use and if I had any prior drug charges on me,” said Otterbein resident Stephanie Foltz.
That’s how a routine traffic stop began for Foltz.
She was headed home from her job in Flora Monday, when ISP Trooper Thomas Manning pulled her over on U.S. 421 for speeding.
Foltz said the questions continued.
“After that, it just kept going with the drugs,” said Foltz.
When Manning went back to his car to check Foltz’s information, she said she sent a text message to her husband — who advised her to record the conversation.
She said when Trooper Manning came back, she used her phone to record the rest of the interaction.
Foltz sounds noticeably anxious in the recording, and Manning asks her what’s wrong.
“When I get put in a stressful situation, I get anxious,” says Foltz.
“When did you start smoking meth?” asks Manning.
Foltz replied, “I’ve never smoked meth in my life.”
“OK,” said Manning. “What happened to your teeth?”
Foltz said she was appalled by his question.
“I was being bullied, and I was being judged, and I was being discriminated against just based on my appearance,” Foltz said.
In the recording, Foltz explains why her teeth aren’t in the best shape.
“You’re saying that your children did that to you?” asked Manning.
“During pregnancy they take calcium out of your body and the first place that it comes from is your teeth,” replied Foltz.
Manning replied, “I don’t believe you.”
The recording continues, and Manning explained his reasons for the traffic stop.
Foltz thought the accusations had stopped, but she was wrong.
“I’m not out here to try to get you,” said Manning. “However, I do take it personally when people aren’t honest with me.”
While Manning continued to explain the ticket to Foltz, she said she became more and more upset.
“Are you upset because I told you, you were lying?” asked Manning.
“Yeah, because you’re judging me on the way that my mouth looks,” replied Foltz. “I’ve never done drugs in my life.”
Foltz said she hasn’t filed a complaint with the Indiana State Police, and isn’t sure if she will.
“I don’t want to get anyone in trouble,” said Foltz. “I don’t want him to lose his job or anything like that. A simple apology would be nice.”
Indiana State Police declined an on-camera interview.
However, ISP explained the troopers actions in a statement to News 18:
“We encourage our officers to look beyond the traffic ticket for signs of criminal activity. This did not rise to the level of a rule violation, or a violation of law. A discussion has occurred with the Trooper on how to be more tactful when conducting a traffic investigation. We now consider the matter to be closed.”