‘Tis the season of the Grinch

The Grinch has come early for drivers across the United States, who will do anything to avoid a Christmas ticket.

An Arizona driver has tried to pass off an inflatable figure of the Dr. Seuss character as a passenger in an effort to speed his journey in an unoccupied people carrier..

An Arizona state trooper noticed a car in a high-occupancy vehicle lane on Interstate 10 in Phoenix with a “Seusspicious-looking” green passenger last week.

While the gag may have given the officer a laugh, it did not stop the driver from getting cited for being in the HOV lane during a restricted time.

Officials say they appreciate the “festive flair” but that the driver’s action was still illegal.

On the other side of the continent, another Grinch was operating at the other end of the law enforcer-breaker spectrum.

Several motorists speeding through an elementary school zone in the Florida Keys received an onion from a county sheriff’s deputy dressed as the Grinch.

In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, Monroe County Sheriff's Office Colonel Lou Caputo, right, costumed as the Grinch, leans on the shoulder of Deputy Andrew Leird, left, as he uses a laser speed detector to check speeds of motorists traveling through a school zone on the Florida Keys Overseas Highway Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022, in Marathon, Fla. For drivers slightly speeding through the area, Caputo offers them the choice between an onion or a traffic citation. (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau via AP)
Lou Caputo, a 37-year veteran of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office conjured up the concept more than 20 years ago and was back on the streets Tuesday.

Drivers who exceed the speed limit by 5 mph or less can choose between a traffic citations and an onion presented by the Grinch. Those who go much faster get not choice and the ticket is far from cheap.

Caputo said.

“We want people to slow down. It’s about education, awareness that our school zones are still operating even though it’s the holiday season,”

Caputo said he dresses up to give motorists a “gift” to call attention in a nice way to the need to obey speed limits in school zones.

“It catches them off guard”

“But when I give them a clear choice of a citation or the onion, they take the onion. And I’ve had them eat the onion right in front of me.”



Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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