California drivers have seen the signs before: "Slow for the cone." But for Moreno Valley motorists, the giant orange cone traversing the crosswalk was supposed to mean "stop."
The undercover officer wearing the traffic cone costume on Wednesday walked along a crosswalk at Eucalyptus Avenue and Running Deer Road as part of a pedestrian right-of-way sting, according to Riverside County Sheriff's Sgt. Bill Guimont.
But even with the costume, some motorists who were cited told authorities "they never saw the traffic cone in the crosswalk," he said in a statement.
Officers had specifically selected a high-profile outfit because motorists cited in past operations complained the undercover officer was not visible.
Guimont said deputies cited 15 motorists for failing to stop for the costume-wearing officer. Another nine motorists were cited for other traffic violations.
The sting was part of the department's effort to encourage motorists to pay attention to the road, especially near crosswalks and schools.
Authorities also received numerous complaints from local residents and crossing guards that some motorists were not stopping for students walking to school.