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Carpool Lane Driver Fined After 'Dummy Passenger' Slides From Police Sight

The solo driver attempting to use the carpool lane had worked hard to fashion a realistic "dummy" passenger but failed to secure his mannequin with a seat belt to make sure it was visible to state troopers.

That led to a $124 fine.

A State Patrol trooper stopped the man early Wednesday for traveling alone in the carpool lane of State Route 167. Only once the car was stopped did the trooper see the elaborately dressed mannequin, which had slumped forward in the rear passenger seat because it was not belted in and thus was not visible to the trooper as the car rolled by.

The dummy sported a denim jacket, hooded sweatshirt and glasses. The driver had also painted on bright blue eyes and a heavy black beard.

"This guy, he went to great extremes," State Patrol spokesman Trooper Jeff Merrill said.

The 41-year-old driver was cited for a high occupancy lane violation.

Unrepentant, the driver told the trooper that next time he'd prop the mannequin in the front passenger seat and remember to belt it in, Merrill said.

"It's not a crime to have" the dummy, the State Patrol spokesman said. "But if you use it to cheat, then you're gonna get a ticket."

The traffic stop and the mannequin drew gawkers and that led to a two-car fender bender. No one was hurt.