HOV-Lane Stop Leads to Kidnapping Bust
Police say Luis Moreno rolled down window to prove car had 3 occupants
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2015 1:01 PM CST
This photo provided by Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department police department shows Louis Moreno.   (AP Photo/Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department)

(Newser) – Pro tip: If you're traveling in an SUV with two men you've allegedly kidnapped in the backseat, don't count them toward your HOV-lane total. A 26-year-old New Jersey man was arrested on Friday morning after a Port Authority officer saw what looked like an otherwise empty car and pulled him over for driving in an I-95 HOV lane solo. To prove that there were indeed enough people in the car to qualify as "high occupancy," Luis A. Moreno, Jr., rolled down the rear window to display two passengers in the Toyota Sequoia's third row. It could have been all good—except as Moreno began to continue on his way, one of the passengers cried for help out the open window, reports NJ.com.

A Port Authority police rep says Moreno ignored orders to stop, but was soon caught in rush-hour traffic (it was just after 8am) and apprehended, the New York Daily News reports. The rep says one of the passengers said, in Spanish, that Moreno had agreed to drive him from Texas to Maryland for a fee; once they got to Maryland, however, he says Moreno asked for more money, locked him in the car, and confiscated his phone. Police say the door and window locks had been altered in a way that prevented the men from being able to open either. Gothamist reports one man was an immigrant from Guatemala, and the other from Asia. Moreno faces a litany of charges: kidnapping, criminal restraint, receiving stolen property, and driving with a suspended license.