Bass v. Commonwealth

In Bass v. Commonwealth, 259 Va. 470, 525 S.E.2d 921 (2000), Bass turned left onto Cogbill Road, the street on which the checkpoint was located, from the northbound lane of Jefferson Davis Highway. Bass, 259 Va. at 473, 525 S.E.2d at 922-23. Bass then turned left into the parking lot of a gas station that was located on the corner of Cogbill and Jefferson Davis. Id. Bass drove through the gas station parking lot without stopping and turned onto the southbound lane of Jefferson Davis. Bass, 259 Va. at 473, 525 S.E.2d at 923. This occurred approximately 500 yards from the police checkpoint. Id. at 473, 525 S.E.2d at 922-23. The officer testified he believed Bass was attempting to evade the checkpoint because "'unlike any other vehicles that had pulled to the gas station . . .,Mr. Bass did not make any attempt to stop or check to see if the station was open . . . .'" Id. at 473, 525 S.E.2d at 923. The officer testified that, other than evading the checkpoint, he did not observe Bass commit any other violation of the law. Id. Based on the facts, the Supreme Court found that reasonable suspicion did not exist to warrant stopping Bass' vehicle. Bass, 259 Va. at 477-78, 525 S.E.2d at 925. the Supreme Court of Virginia held that a police officer did not have a justifiable basis for stopping the defendant who "made a series of legal driving maneuvers the effect of which was to reverse the direction in which he was going" and which "also resulted in his not passing through the traffic checkpoint that was approximately 500 feet away." Id. at 477, 525 S.E.2d at 925. The fact that the defendant was the only driver who had entered, but not stopped in the gas station parking lot was consistent with making a U-turn and did not give the officer a reasonable suspicion that appellant was engaged in some sort of criminal activity. Id.