Napa Valley Register article published June 26, 2013:
CHP: Man arrested, cited for highway mule incident
A 65-year-old man was arrested just south of the Butler Bridge on Wednesday after allegedly walking three, fully-packed mules on the fast-lane shoulder of Highway 29, the California Highway Patrol reported.
Wednesday afternoon, authorities responded to reports that a man was walking mules on the northbound shoulder of Highway 29 toward the Butler Bridge, which has no shoulder, the CHP said. When officers arrived, the man allegedly became irate and was arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest, a misdemeanor, and not obeying traffic signs, an infraction.
John Sears was booked into the Napa jail at 3:30 p.m. on the charges, according to the booking report. A city of residence was not listed for the suspect, only California.
The CHP said it did not know why Sears was walking the mules on the side of the highway, where they were going or from where they came. According to 3mules.com (a domain name registered to a John Sears of Phoenix, Ariz.), the mules, “are from the outside. (They) live outside all day, every day. Where are (they) going? Nowhere.”
“Sometimes people catch up to them, snap a photo and try to talk to the 65-year-old man who just likes to be called, ‘Mule,’” the website states. “They find that Mule is a man of few words, especially when he’s moving on city streets to get safely to the next destination.”
According to the website, Sears and his three mules, which appear to travel in a line, have been walking for nearly three decades and have traveled three states. In 2012, the group was cited for illegal camping, according to the website.
The CHP said it is illegal for pedestrians and their pets to walk on a highway. The animals were in the care of animal control Wednesday afternoon.