An eyebrow-raising photo posted by the Modesto-area CHP on its Facebook page raised some questions and fueled a lot of corny comments.
It shows a box truck pulled to the side of Highway 99, with a Dodge Ram pickup squeezed into it tighterthanthis. The Highway Patrol captioned it, “Where do we start?”
Facebook followers asked: How did the driver get it in there? Why? How did he then get out?
And the jokes — oh, the jokes:
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“You shouldn’t RAM things in tight places.”
“That’s the new dodge CRAM.”
“They must have used a good RAMp to get it in there.”
“I think I’ve seen enough Rams fails this week.”
“They watched ‘The Fast and the Furious.’ It’s their getaway vehicle.”
So here, according to CHP spokesman Officer Thomas Olsen, is what happened:
An officer southbound on Highway 99 south of Carpenter Road at about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday saw the box truck ahead. As he drew closer, he saw only one strap holding down the pickup at the mouth of the box truck, and the Ram was moving back and forth. Concerned it eventually could roll out, he pulled over the driver near the Kansas Avenue off ramp.
The driver, 41-year-old Zamora Dagoberto of Hialeah, Florida, told the officer he’d driven the Ram from Texas to Stockton, where he bought the box truck, and now was heading back.
So, how did he get the Ram into the truck? The place he bought it had a loading ramp, so he just carefully backed in.
And getting out of the Ram? “We were as puzzled as anyone else,” Olsen said. Dagoberto explained that he squeaked out the driver side window (must be a slender guy) and walked across the hood.
In terms of weight and fit (the roll-down truck door couldn’t be closed), there was no violation in carrying the Ram, Olsen said. Dagoberto’s only trouble was not having the truck secured with a four-point tie-down. That keeps a hauled vehicle in place even in the event of a rollover, Olsen said.
Officers (a Spanish speaker was called to the scene to communicate with the driver) issued Dagoberto a citation and a verbal command that he could not continue driving until he’d secured the Ram. They allowed him to drive off the freeway to a nearby gas station and told him where he could buy a tie-down.
“I think it’s lucky we made the enforcement stop, because there’s no doubt in my mind it eventually would have fallen out of the truck,” Olsen said.
“If it looks bad,” which it clearly did to the officer who pulled over Dagoberto, “it probably is bad.”