Driver caught with mannequin in HOV lane

July 16, 2009 9:01:32 PM PDT
A couple of traffic crashes caused headaches for drivers on highway 290 during Thursday morning's rush hour, especially in the HOV lane. Officers were stunned when they found one of the victims in the wrecks was a mannequin. The accident certainly tied up traffic on 290, but it was what Metro police say they discovered inside one of the cars driving in an HOV lane that surprised them the most.

It was an accident that caused a morning rush hour mess. Metro police say a driver rear-ended another in the HOV lane on 290, causing a chain reaction.

Officer Miguel Rodriguez responded to the scene. While one person was taken to the hospital, Officer Rodriguez looked in on the driver of the car accused of causing the crash and what he assumed was his passenger, since they were in the HOV lane.

"I thought there might be someone else in the vehicle and I checked and sure enough it was a mannequin," said Officer Rodriguez.

While Rodriguez says police have discovered mannequins posed as passengers before, this was the first accident he had seen where the driver was busted.

"I asked him, 'You've got this in here too,' and he put his head down and said, 'Yeah I do,'" said Officer Rodriguez.

Metro police say some drivers have even used baby dolls like this one that look incredibly real, complete with a car seat.

"People get creative with these things," Officer Rodriguez said.

We tried to talk to the driver Metro police identified as Mike Hooper, 54, but no one was home.

As for his passenger, well, he's not talking either.

Metro police say Hooper was ticketed with failure to control speed and unauthorized use of an HOV lane which carries a $175 fine.

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