56-year-old James Campbell was just hoping to not be late for work when he hopped into the HOV lane on the Long Island Expressway. His dreams did not come true, all due to police intervention. Campbell ended up pulled over, leading to the following humorous exchange:
The driver, James Campbell, told NBC 4 New York the officer seemed to have a sense of humor about it.
“He said, ‘Passenger, can I see some ID?’ And I said, ‘Officer, I don’t think so,'” said Campbell, chuckling. (via)
The reason for the silence is because Campbell’s passenger wasn’t real. It was a fake wooden figure that Campbell had created in order to fool those hawk eyed members of law enforcement, out to stop people from abusing the carpool lanes on the highway. And it worked, up to a point:
[Officer Johnathan Abrams] said for a moment, he actually thought it was a real person.
“The silhouette was realistic enough,” he said. “You see people with hoods up, sleeping in the front seat all the time.” (via)
According to Campbell this is the first time he has been busted for using the wooden figure during his commute, earning him a ticket for “speeding and occupancy violation.” You might think this would be the end of the line for Campbell and his wooden friend, but you’d be mistaken. From CBS News:
“I’ve been using it for months,” he said.
This was not the first time drivers have used such a trick to take advantage of a faster HOV lane. Dummies and mannequins in the passenger seat also made headlines in 2008 and 2010, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported.
“I think it’s fun,” Campbell said.
Campbell said he has no intention of retiring his dummy now that he has gotten caught.
“I’ll still give it a shot,” he said. “I’ll change outfits.”
Hell yea, Mr. Campbell. A modern day outlaw, scoffing at the law with the help of his wooden friend. You might be a danger to others on the road, but there also hasn’t been a commuter out there who hasn’t been in the same position.
I know I’ve tried enough tricks and taken enough short cuts to earn numerous tickets over the years. That’s why I always wear a white lab coat while driving and keep a list of hospitals nearby.
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(Via CBS News / NBC New York / Gothamist / Gawker)