Iguana is Designated Driver for Florida Man

Date: 13 Jun 1997
CLEARWATER, Fla. (Reuter) - The plainclothes policemen did a double take when they spotted a 3 1/2 foot lizard at the wheel of a car.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents John Halliday and Tom Colbert were serving warrants Thursday when they noticed John Ruppell's car moving erratically along busy U.S. 19 with the green-and-orange iguana at the steering wheel, the Tampa Tribune reported Friday.

"It looked like this iguana was driving. He had his claws on top of the wheel," FDLE supervisor Larry Sams told the newspaper.

The agents called for police backup and followed the car for a couple of miles until it pulled over. The car's occupant, John Ruppell, was slouched down in the seat.

Ruppell was arrested on a drunken driving charge. The lizard was taken to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Sams said the iguana, named Finley, was a pretty good driver. "It's not every day you find a lizard driving a car," he said. "And nobody had a camera."

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