A sweatshirt on a dummy doll does not count as “carpooling,” as one Renton driver learned last week.
During rush hour traffic, around 8 a.m., on Friday, March 30, the driver of a Toyota Scion was pulled over on northbound Interstate 405 near Exit 5 toward Sunset Boulevard for “making an unsafe lane change,” cutting in front of a Washington State Patrol car, in order to enter the HOV lane, according to a statement from the WSP.
The trooper reportedly hit his brakes to avoid hitting the car, but not before he observed what he thought was a front-seat passenger ducking below the window level.
The erratic driving and suspicious actions of the driver’s “passenger” concerned the trooper, who decided to pull over the driver. As the trooper approached the car he discovered the front “passenger” was an inflated doll wearing a brown sweatshirt.
The driver, a 21-year-old Renton man, insisted that he is “a good driver” and the doll was not being used as a fake passenger.
The Trooper disagreed and issued a $248 ticket for HOV violation and an unsafe lane change.
The Washington State Patrol would like to remind drivers that sudden movements during a traffic stop are a safety warning for law enforcement officers and give reason for the officer to believe that a dangerous threat may be waiting in the car.
Keep in mind that when drivers are stopped there are a number of factors that assist troopers in evaluation of whether their interaction is a safe one. The WSP suggests:
• Non-tinted or lower-tinted windows for increased visibility
• Avoid sudden/unusual movements
• Keep your hands visible to the officer
• Wait to look for documents until asked for them
• Turn on interior lighting during hours of darkness