HOV lane driver caught with mannequin riding shotgun

EVERETT — When the Washington State Patrol trooper spotted the pasty-faced figure in the passenger seat, he couldn’t help noticing that she was wearing a wig.

Only she turned out to be a he, or, more accurately, an it.

At the trooper’s behest, the driver — a Marysville man, 47 — pulled over his Mazda Miata on southbound I-5 shortly before 8 a.m. Thursday.

The trooper asked for the driver’s identity. His passenger didn’t move or say anything — for good reason.

It was a mannequin wearing what trooper Mark Francis described as “a hideous and obvious wig.”

The mannequin — a crude ruse to take advantage of the carpool lane — was a male figure fitted with a woman’s shoulder-length blond wig complementing a red sweater. Its hair was in its eyes.

The driver told the trooper that his passenger’s name is Mr. Safety.

He received a $124 ticket for violating HOV lane rules along the interstate near 164th Street SW.

Troopers didn’t confiscate Mr. Safety, but did take photos for evidence.

Mr. Safety was wearing a seat belt.

The discovery might have been aided by the fact that the trooper was in an unmarked Chevrolet Caprice.

It wasn’t the first time troopers have pulled over a driver with a dummy in the passenger seat, Francis said.

The driver said he has used the mannequin “infrequently” on his commutes, Francis said.

“For a while, he was like the kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar,” he added.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com.

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