The bane of many solo drivers is the prohibition on the carpool lane.
But police say one Orange County driver hatched a scheme to escape notice and travel in the fast lane: put a mannequin in the front seat and dress it in a black sweatshirt.
The long-running scheme came to an embarrassing end Wednesday, when Brea police said they busted the driver and his dummy during an encounter on the 57 Freeway.
A police motorcycle officer was traveling northbound on the freeway near Tonner Canyon at about 5 p.m. when a pickup abruptly turned out of the carpool lane, according to the Brea Police Department.
The pickup nearly struck the officer's motorcycle, police said.
The officer wanted to tell the driver to use more caution during a lane change, so he pulled up next to the driver's open window.
But the officer was shocked to see a mannequin in the passenger seat instead of a person.
The driver's name was not released. He told police he had used the dummy as a time-saving trick for "quite some time," authorities said.
Police issued a citation for driving solo through the carpool lane.