AGENT SUSPENDED: Governor Denies Speeding Retaliation
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad confirmed he and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds were in a speeding SUV in April.
Special Agent in Charge Larry Hedlund told the Des Moines Register he witnessed a black SUV speeding east of I-35 on Highway 20. He said he reported the incident. A trooper pursued the vehicle and determined it was the vehicle assigned to transport the governor.
The Department of Public Safety suspended Hedlund, a decorated 25-year veteran, a week following the incident.
The governor’s public schedule showed the governor attended an event to celebrate National Volunteer Week in Parkersburg on that date.His spokesman, Tim Albrecht, didn’t have the specific details of the incident, but said he could confirm the governor stuck to his schedule that day.
Branstad told Channel 13 Tuesday afternoon, “Yes, the lieutenant governor and I were both in the vehicle. We didn’t know anything about it. We didn’t know the incident had ever occurred. We found out about it today.”
Branstad confirmed he had been told his vehicle, driven by another state trooper, had been clocked going 84 miles per hour.
When asked what he thinks the public would feel about his vehicle going well past the posted limit, the governor responded, “I don’t try to backseat drive or tell the troopers what they should do. I have confidence in them and I think they do a good job.”
The DPS said the incident occurred on Highway 20, near mile marker 162, which is west of Iowa Falls in Hardin County.
Hecklund’s attorney told the Register his client got suspended after complaining about superiors following the speeding incident. Branstad denied Hecklund got suspended for reporting the governor’s speeding vehicle. The governor said, “Well, that is being investigated. And I don’t think there’s any relationship.”
“I have great faith in the Department of Public Safety and also the staff that is assigned to public safety to provide for the protection of the governor and lieutenant governor. And I think that they do a good job. I’m sure they will do a complete investigation in determining what is appropriate.”