Collinsville settles lawsuit over 'Star Trek' traffic stop

News-DemocratApril 25, 2014 

Collinsville has settled a civil rights lawsuit filed by an Ohio documentary filmmaker and his passenger who claimed they were unlawfully detained during a drug search on the side the interstate in December 2011.

Terrance Huff and John Seaton sued the city in federal court after Huff's PT Cruiser was stopped on eastbound Interstate 55-70 by Collinsville police officer Michael Reichert for a traffic violation.

The suit was settled on April 8 during a conference with U.S. Magistrate Judge Phillip Frazier. The order dismissing the case was filed on Friday.

The terms of the settlement were not released. But Huff posted a video on YouTube Friday and in the caption he stated that the case settled for $100,000. He could not be reached for comment on Friday.

The case made news when Huff obtained a copy of a video made on Reichert's dashboard camera, edited it, added background music and photos of himself and Seaton at a Star Trek exhibit at the St. Louis Science Center, and posted it to YouTube under the title "Breakfast in Collinsville."

The video has had more than 544,900 views since it was posted on March 14, 2012.

In his lawsuit, Huff claimed that Reichert profiled him because the PT Cruiser had out-of-state license plates. Huff also claimed Reichert had no probable cause to stop him, then triggered his dog Macho to falsely alert on the car, giving Reichert probable cause to search Huff's vehicle.

Reichert, who was also named in the suit, claimed that Huff swerved into a lane without signaling. Then-police chief Scott Williams defended the stop and his department's policy of running drug interdiction on Interstate 55-70 that runs through Collinsville.

Neither Huff's lawyer, Louis Meyer, nor Williams could be reached for comment.

Contact reporter Beth Hundsdorfer at bhundsdorfer@bnd.com or 618-239-2570.