Police: Florida man driving with clown mannequin had live grenade in pickup

BUNNELL, Fla. — A Florida man who was driving with a clown mannequin is accused of having a live grenade in the back of his pickup, authorities said.

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Louis Wyatt Branson, 65, of Palatka, was charged with driving with an expired license for more than six months, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a firearm, weapon, or ammo by convicted felon, possession of marijuana and possession of cocaine, in addition to the original charges, according to Flagler County Sheriff’s Office booking records.

His bail was set at $7,000, online records show.

Video taken by the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office showed Branson being pulled over by deputies on Monday in Bunnell, located northeast of Daytona Beach.

Deputies had pulled Branson over because the tags on the pickup had expired, and they also discovered that the man was driving with an expired license, the sheriff’s office wrote in a Facebook post. Branson explained that although the tag had expired Thursday, his wife was going to renew the tags. He added that he was driving to Daytona Beach to “get some parts,” according to the deputies’ body camera video.

Branson answered questions while the clown mannequin stared straight ahead in the passenger’s seat, according to the video.

Deputies placed Branson under arrest, and while searching the back of the pickup, one deputy found a sealed can with a grenade hidden inside, the Miami Herald reported.

“Oh, shoot, is this for real?” the deputy asks her partner in the video.

The other deputy moved the grenade to an empty field. The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad detonated the device, WGOX reported.

According to the sheriff’s office, Branson said he found the grenade “three or four years ago” while cleaning the home of a veteran, according to the Herald.

“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 is schedule to appear in court on Nov. 29, according to Flagler County online court records.