A man who was riding around with a monstrous clown mannequin is facing a diverse series of charges, after deputies also found drugs and a live grenade in his pickup, according to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.
The traffic stop happened Monday on a dirt road in Bunnell, a small town northwest of Daytona Beach, officials said in a release.
Video shows the clown mannequin sat impassively in the passenger seat as driver Louis Branson, 65, responded to deputies’ questions about why he was driving with a license that expired in 2019. He truck tags were also expired, officials said.
Branson explained his wife was renewing the tags that very day, while he went shopping for truck parts in Daytona Beach.
However, deputies became suspicious and placed him under arrest. It was during a search of his tool box that one deputy found a sealed can with a grenade tucked inside.
“Oh, shoot, is this for real?” the deputy asks in the video, showing the can to her partner.
At that point, the video shows the deputy put the can down and quickly exiting the bed of the pickup — fearing the device might be unstable. Another deputy is then seen cautiously carrying the grenade to a spot 30 feet from the vehicle, where he places it in the dirt.
A team later detonated the grenade, according to a YouTube video.
“Here’s a prime example of how deputies never know what a traffic stop may turn into,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said in a news release.
“This guy was pulled over because his tag and license were expired, and then deputies found drugs and a grenade in his vehicle. This idiot is lucky he did not blow himself or his truck up. Carrying around an explosive device is very dangerous and illegal.”
Branson says he found the grenade three or four years ago while cleaning the home of a veteran, and he kept it in his tool box ever since.
His charges include driving with an expired license for more than six months, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of firearm, weapon, or ammo by convicted felon, possession of marijuana and possession of cocaine, in addition to the original charges. Bond was set at $7,000.