JACKSON, MISS.—The Mississippi Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) Office of Enforcement recently recovered two pieces of stolen property traveling on Mississippi highways. MDOT Enforcement officers chased down a dually truck pulling a gooseneck trailer for failing to stop at the Iuka inspection station off U.S. Highway 72 in Tishomingo County. The truck was hauling a 2009 Kabota utility vehicle. Officers discovered the driver had no U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) number or any paperwork for the vehicle
“The driver claimed to have bought the utility vehicle and said that he was in the process of transporting it to his farm for personal use,” said MDOT Enforcement Officer Sgt. Lane White.
During the driver’s interview, officers checked the vehicle identification numbers (VIN). The truck had a switched tag from a different vehicle, and the Kabota utility vehicle was reported stolen from Oklahoma.
“During the investigation, we determined the driver was hired to transport the stolen utility vehicle to Wisconsin,” said Sgt. James McDeavitt. “The estimated value of the stolen Kabota vehicle is approximately $5,000. We arrested the driver, and the truck, trailer and utility vehicle were impounded.”
Days later, MDOT Enforcement pulled over a vehicle on I-59 south of Hattiesburg in Lamar County to perform a routine safety inspection. After initial contact with the driver and reviewing the vehicle’s paperwork, the officer noticed the trailer was a different make and model than the one listed on the registration.
“Through further investigation, I was able to confirm the trailer VIN plate had been switched, and the trailer was confirmed stolen from Broward County, Fla., in May 2012,” said Sgt. Jim-Hunter Hutson. “The driver and the truck were released while the trailer was impounded.”
MDOT Enforcement’s primary responsibility is the regulation and safe operation of commercial motor vehicles on state and federal highways. Along with preserving Mississippi’s transportation infrastructure, these laws and regulations help further MDOT’s efforts to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities. In FY 2015, 9,400 vehicles with the potential to cause crashes were removed from Mississippi roadways or put out of service due to safety violations by MDOT Enforcement.
“Our department is committed to the preservation of our roadway infrastructure and ensuring the safety of the traveling public,” said MDOT Office of Enforcement Director Willie Huff.