Ever seen something really strange on the road? Not just the typical “truck balls” or the arm hanging out of the trunk (people are much more careful when they actually have a body back there.) No, really unusual, to the point where you wished you could ask some other drivers if they saw it, too?
Here are some of the most extreme roadgoing spectacles that managed to draw the attention of everyone around them—including law enforcement.
Orange is the new contraband
When the cops pull you over because you have oranges spilling out of your car, what do you do? Most of us would likely handle it similarly to this family, who were pulled over in several cars, with a total of 8,000 pounds of oranges in them. (That’s 4 tons of oranges. The weight of an average car.)
First, you’d probably try to make it sound like it was just a gradual thing that happened without you really noticing. You’d explain that you were “coming from very far away, and had been stopping and collecting oranges along the way.” Reasonable, right? If you were driving, thousands of miles—through Florida maybe—in circles, and stopping to pick oranges every few miles… you could end up with more than you could really eat on one road trip. Or for the rest of your entire family’s life.
But then the cops point out that you actually need permits to carry that much fruit. (Who knew?) And then it really starts to go sideways when it turns out that, a few hours before you were pulled over, the police got a report of a very large orange heist.
And it turns out that fruit is at the center of more than one pulled-over-for-making-a-scene drama. Because in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a state trooper had to stop a bananamobile. It wasn’t smuggling oranges, or even speeding; the cop just wanted to make sure it was street legal. When he ran the plate (which was ‘SPLIT’. Of Course) he discovered it actually was legit to operate on the road. The cop returned the license, with a $20 bill wrapped around it. (Which makes us wonder if he’s confused about how bribes work.)
And the driver of the banana car went on his merry way, which was a road trip to Texas. Apparently, that banana is more roadworthy than it looks; it was custom built from a Ford F-150 pickup, and has the pickup truck’s engine. So yeah, it can probably peel out. (Sorry, there was just no way to avoid that.)
Those meddling kids…
Actually, Shaggy, Scooby, Velma, and Daphne were nowhere to be found when police in Redding, California pursued the Mystery Machine. It was actually being driven by Sharon Kay Turman, who was in violation of her probation, when—not unsurprisingly—police spotted her. She led them on a high-speed chase, which became unsafe for the area so police had to stand down. (Turman ran a red light and nearly hit four cars along the way.) The Highway Patrol spotted her a few hours later, but once again had to abandon the chase due to public safety concerns. Turman—probably having realized that the Mystery Machine was maybe a little too conspicuous for a fugitive to be driving—abandoned the vehicle (which was actually a 1994 Chrysler Town & Country.)
Turman later turned herself in because “she wanted to get her van back.” And more of the story unfolded. It turns out that Turman was high on methamphetamine during the chase. And that she painted her van that way after some friends advised her it might help her avoid police detection. (Because who would ever suspect the driver of a DIY Mystery Machine of being high on anything?)
‘There in spirit’ doesn’t count for the HOV lane
A trooper in Nevada was surprised to see a hearse from a local funeral home driving in the carpool lane. There was no one in the passenger seat, so he pulled the driver over, expecting to hear that he was late for an appointment. Or a funeral.
Instead, when the officer pointed out that he was using the carpool lane illegally, the driver nodded toward the rear of the hearse and said, “so he doesn’t count?” The trooper explained that the HOV lane is only for living, breathing passengers. He then let the driver off with a warning.