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Many of us have dreamt of cruising by traffic in the carpool lane. And maybe some of us have considered propping up a dummy in the passenger seat to get away with it.
Well one brave man dared to follow his HOV-lane dream. And now that dream is dead.
Who's Your Dummy?
James Campbell was speeding blissfully along in the HOV lane of the Long Island Expressway through Dix Hills, New York, last Friday morning. Running late for his new job, Campbell was blazing a 77 mph trail through the carpool lane -- a lane the ingenious Mr. Campbell was using courtesy of his passenger and friend:
The Lawman Cometh
Officer Jonathan Abrams of the Suffolk County Police Department was patrolling that same stretch of expressway when Campbell went zooming by. Abrams pulled Campbell over for speeding and ran through his normal traffic stop routine:
Abrams: Passenger, can I see some ID?
Campbell: Officer, I don't think so.
That is when Campbell's full-throttle fantasy came crashing in around him. The crime went down and now the jig was up. Abrams cited Campbell for speeding and an occupancy violation.
HOV lane hijinks are nothing new. This is not even the first passenger lie on the LIE -- a man was busted for a mannequin in 2010. A skeleton in a sweatshirt went for a ride in Washington state. And a California man attempted to claim his corporation was a legal "person," an argument more suited for the Supreme Court than the carpool lane.
The possible penalties for avoiding tolls are sufficient to scare most drivers straight. A Virginia toll evader racked up over $200,000 in fines and penalties, while a Chinese court once sentenced a man to life in prison for using fake plates to bypass tolls over 2,300 times.
So be wary of employing a dummy to aid your access to the HOV lane -- you may be driving a little too close to the sun.