SAN DIEGO - 10News on Monday tracked down the Easter Bunny who was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol over the weekend.
The viral photo taken along Interstate 8 in La Mesa on Saturday is grabbing headlines across the globe. It shows the Easter Bunny being questioned by a CHP officer.
"You know, I was sad," said the Easter Bunny, or as he likes to call himself, E.B. "I was crying because I thought all these poor kids were going to think I am a bad Easter Bunny."
He sat down with 10News on Monday in character to explain why he was pulled over and given a verbal warning from the officer.
"I had the helmet but it wasn't properly attached, so that's what the stop was about," E.B. said.
He said he made the ride initially to help a sick friend.
"On the way to the breakfast, I became buoyed by the response – you know, the Easter spirit – and all the cars waving and the kids in the cars waving and the people taking pictures, so we just took the long way around to get to the breakfast," he said.
He took the long way to Kearny Mesa with a drive down I-8, which was when he was pulled over.
10News tracked down the Easter Bunny with the help of costume accessory store Gypsy Treasure in La Mesa. They led us to Edward Bell. Like Clark Kent to Superman, Bell says he knows the Easter Bunny very well.
"E.B. is a very good friend of mine," Bell said. "We've shared a few eggs together."
Bell said they planned Saturday's road trip together, including the use of a Department of Transportation-approved safety helmet.
"We came up with the best solution we had, which was a DOT helmet and the CHP recognized that but said it was the way it was attached," said Bell.
When asked about visibility, Bell answered, "E.B. has had some extensive training in impaired driving, like in racing and when you have peripheral vision limited. His tunneling… he's done a lot of tunneling work."
E.B. said he also had a friend as a spotter with him at all times and that next year, he will wear a larger helmet.
"It's hard to find a helmet that properly fits it when you have such great ears," he said.
The CHP maintains that the situation was not a joke. They tell 10News that his outfit was a visual impairment and that he threatened his own safety and that of others.
E.B. said there is a lesson in this for everyone.
"Safety is always first," he said. "Wear all the gear all of the time… The CHP can use my incident as an opportunity for public safety awareness."