Police: NY man used phony passenger in HOV lane

NEW YORK CITY -- Police say a man tried to get away with using a phony passenger to drive in an HOV lane on the Long Island Expressway Monday.

According to Suffolk County Police, Highway Patrol Officer Andrew Spina was traveling near exit 51 around 4 p.m. when he became suspicious of the front seat passenger in a 2002 Saturn sedan.

Officer Spina pulled over the vehicle.

He noticed that the driver, 34-year-old James Britt of Centereach, had placed a mannequin wearing a sweatshirt, sunglasses, hat and jeans into the front passenger seat along with water bottles in an attempt to resemble a person.

Britt was issued a summons for the HOV occupancy violations.

Similar cases have happened from time to time on the L.I.E. and elsewhere, with police saying drivers deployed phony passengers ranging from mannequins to teddy bears.

In September 2016, a Seattle-area driver was even ticketed for carpooling with a cardboard cutout of then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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