Long Islander Caught Driving in HOV Lane with Wooden Passenger
A Long Island man was caught commuting in Long Island Expressway’s HOV lane with a wooden figure in a hoodie as his passenger. A Suffolk County Highway Patrol officer, who pulled the man over for speeding at 77 mph in the carpool-only lane, was the one who noticed the dummy occupant.
“I was trying not to laugh because I thought it was quite silly,” said officer Jonathan Abrams, who initially thought that the Pinocchio passenger was a real boy. “The silhouette was real enough. You see people with hoods up, sleeping in the front seat all the time.”
James Campbell, the car’s driver/the passenger’s Geppetto, said he had a new job and couldn’t afford to be late—hence the speeding and carpool lane cheating. Although officer Abrams still ticketed him for both offenses, Campbell says that the patrolman had a sense of humor about the whole thing.
“He said, ‘Passenger, can I see some ID?’ And I said, ‘Officer, I don’t think so,’” Campbell told NBC 4 New York.
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But even though it’s gotten him into trouble with the authorities, Campbell refuses to abandon his wooden friend, who’s been his riding partner for months now.
“He’s got a sister down in the basement,” Campbell said about his passenger, “and on special occasions, I bring her out and she wears a tutu.”