Driver used realistic mannequin to sneak into carpool lane, CHP says
He had wrinkles on his face, horn-rimmed glasses perched on his nose and wisps of gray hair poking out from underneath his Cleveland Indians baseball cap.
He was even wearing a facial mask to guard against the spread of the coronavirus.
The only problem is that the driver’s “passenger” was not real. It was a mannequin used to sneak into the carpool lane of the 210 Freeway in Glendora last week, authorities said.
A California Highway Patrol officer stopped the pair traveling in a Toyota Tacoma near the Grand Avenue exit about 4 p.m. on Feb. 19, said Officer Rodrigo Jimenez, a spokesman for the agency’s Baldwin Park station.
While it’s not unheard of for people to use mannequins to try to skirt traffic laws, Jimenez said, the officer was impressed by the lengths the driver had gone to make the fake passenger appear real.
“It had the hat, glasses, sunglasses in the shirt pocket, the work boots, the whole thing,” Jimenez said. “It was even wearing a mask.”
The officer snapped a photo, which was uploaded to the Baldwin Park station’s Facebook page. “By far, one of the best dummies we have ever seen,” the caption read. “To clarify, we are referring to this fake passenger.”
The officer also issued the driver a citation for driving solo in the carpool lane, which carries a fine of $490 for a first offense, Jimenez said. The mannequin was not confiscated as evidence since the violation is an infraction, not a crime, he said.
But the incident should serve as a reminder that eagle-eyed CHP officers are always watching, he said.
“We get a lot of people complaining about a lot of solo drivers in the carpool lane,” Jimenez said. “And yes, every day we are out there enforcing all traffic laws, including the carpool lane.”
Start your day right
Sign up for Essential California for news, features and recommendations from the L.A. Times and beyond in your inbox six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.