LOS ANGELES COUNTY, Calif. – A California driver got an “A” for effort as well as a $400 citation from authorities for the extremely realistic mannequin he used in order to access the carpool lanes for more than a year.
At first glance the mannequin, clad in a Cleveland Indians ball cap, red flannel shirt, eyeglasses and face mask, looks eye-catchingly lifelike. However, a California Highway Patrol officer was able to quickly identify the fake in the passenger seat of the driver’s Toyota Tacoma after he was pulled over Feb. 19, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.
“By far, one of the best dummies we have ever seen. To clarify, we are referring to this fake passenger,” the agency said on social media.
An officer noticed the suspicious vehicle because of the tint on the passenger window, which is prohibited, and made a traffic stop. The officer immediately recognized the dummy when the driver unrolled his window.
“The driver didn’t say much,” Officer Rodrigo Jimenez told the Daily News. “Other than that he’s been driving with the mannequin and he’d been getting away with it for a year and a half.”
The driver was cited for a carpool lane infraction, a $400 fine. The mannequin was not confiscated. There are no additional penalties for trying to fool officers with fake passengers. Drivers sometimes use mannequins with their legs propped on the dashboard, a bundle of blankets in a carseat or even a doll to give the appearance of a child in the vehicle.
“I thought I’d seen them all, but I guess not,” Jimenez, a 13-year veteran on the force, told the Daily News. “This is something that’s straight out of the log ride at Knotts Berry Farm or Disneyland.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.