Great Falls Police Officer John Green pulled over Santa Claus on Christmas for speeding but declined to write him a ticket.
"Oh, he was jolly," Green said of Claus.
But otherwise, Green discovered that at least two commonly held beliefs about Claus are incorrect.
Claus is widely believed to drive a sleigh and live in the North Pole.
In fact, Green said, Claus drove what appeared to be an Oldsmobile, or a similar mid-size American car. His driver's license showed that he resides in _______.
Sunday afternoon, Green pulled over a car heading north on 38th St. near Schulte's Coffee House. The driver clipped along at 50 miles an hour in a 25 mph zone, he said.
When Green approached the car, he noticed that the driver wore a full beard and a big red shirt.
Green asked for identification, and the driver handed him a driver's license that identified him as Santa Claus.
Claus explained that he was just getting back to _________ from a seven-week stint in San Diego, Green said. (He had worked as Santa Claus there.)
Claus told Green he was "tired," but Claus did not try to talk himself out of a ticket, Green said.
Green wasn't inclined to issue a citation, either.
"I can't give the big man a ticket," he said.
Instead, he issued Claus a verbal warning.
He said that by issuing the warning, he hoped to avoid a lump of coal in his stocking next year.
Sunday, Lt. Tito Rodriguez defended Green's decision to let Claus off with a warning.
Claus might have a valid reason to exceed the speed limit, Rodriguez said.
"Santa's got a lot of ground to cover," he said.
Green, however, said he wasn't likely to write anyone a ticket on Christmas.