Driver with 'doll' passenger cuts off trooper

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RENTON, Wash. (AP) -- Strapping a life-size doll into the passenger seat can be a high-risk strategy to gain access to a carpool lane. It gets even riskier if you cut off a state trooper in traffic.

The Washington State Patrol says a trooper had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting a car that cut in front of him to enter the carpool lane during morning rush hour traffic on northbound Interstate 405 in the Renton area.

Capt. Rob Huss says when the trooper pulled the car over for an unsafe lane change he found that the front seat "passenger" was an inflatable life-sized doll wearing a sweatshirt.

The 21-year-old man behind the wheel assured the trooper that he was a good driver and not using the doll as a fake passenger. He still got a $248 ticket last Friday for a carpool lane violation and an unsafe lane change.