CHP: Man arrested, cited for highway mule incident

2013-06-26T17:30:00Z 2013-06-29T22:26:36Z CHP: Man arrested, cited for highway mule incidentRegister staff Napa Valley Register
June 26, 2013 5:30 pm  • 

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.

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(21) Comments

  1. Almost a Genius
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    Almost a Genius - June 26, 2013 7:04 pm
    I saw him @ American Canyon Rd. & Broadway @ 11:20 am today heading west to Hwy 29
  2. anothervoice
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    anothervoice - June 26, 2013 9:54 pm
    Hope this is the worst crime we see in Napa for a long time to come. :)
  3. anthonyhayz14
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    anthonyhayz14 - June 26, 2013 10:13 pm
    I drove by and seen the commotion it looked more like the cops yelling at him he almost made it out of napa
  4. gshanks
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    gshanks - June 27, 2013 7:29 am
    the corrupt law enforcement cant find a real criminal , what a waste of our tax money again,
  5. OALA
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    OALA - June 27, 2013 8:02 am
    Wow, the CHP should be proud of itself! How about this..tell the mule man that he needs to get off the highway and let us help you get to a side street safely...this man has been walking for 30 years and wants to get thru Napa and he gets arrested? How much did that arrest cost? This is so sad that this happened in Napa. I realize there are laws but there is also common sense..We have had people walking on the highway on their horse in the past on a trip across the US but he must have called ahead so the CHP knew where "he was from and where he was going"...I hope that statement was quoted wrong by the Register, if not someone needs to go back and get retrained.
    I do not know what the man said or how he reacted to the CHP, but logic would tell you this person probably is a little different then the typical lawbreaker that is pulled over on the highway.
    Ex: no taillights, license plates, seat belts, turn signals, well you get the picture!
    Just trying to get safely off city streets......
  6. patp
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    patp - June 27, 2013 8:03 am
    Outrageous police behavior! I have known this nomad for quite awhile. He is VERY passive and peaceful. NO WAY was he combative with police. Your snooty Napa cops seem to be way too bored and full of themselves. Go write parking tickets or better yet, find a real criminal and let this lovely citizen of the world go on his peaceful way.
  7. Rob C
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    Rob C - June 27, 2013 8:48 am
    Quality of commentary is always enlightening. You realize of course that if on the bridge with no shoulder, those large livestock animals spooked onto roadway causing mayhem or death, the story would have ended much differently?

    Thanks CHP for being there.
  8. Solipsistic
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    Solipsistic - June 27, 2013 9:03 am
    There is a difference between CHP and the Napa PD. Learn it, and stop pointing your fingers at the wrong people.
  9. Solipsistic
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    Solipsistic - June 27, 2013 9:06 am
    How would you feel if you or a loved one accidentally hit and killed this man and his mules? It is EXTREMELY idiotic and dangerous to walk alongside a highway. He endangered the lives of every driver who went past him. Why are people defending this guy??
  10. Report Abuse
    - June 27, 2013 10:15 am
    Napa Valley California: Come on vacation, leave on probation.
  11. crooked6pence
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    crooked6pence - June 27, 2013 11:08 am
    Dude, they are mules, they don't get spooked. The only ones getting spooked are the Napa PD. Pedestrians and their livestock always have the right of way!
  12. Richard Waller
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    Richard Waller - June 27, 2013 11:29 am
    Mule might be the last free man in America, of course the machine will crush him if it gets the chance. For thirty years he has roamed America, safely. I know some of the trails he has ridden safely with his mules. He is an incredible man. Of course he is socially "different" of course he will react to law enforcement imposing its will on him with bewilderment. The so called illegal camping mentioned in the article is an error on the part of State Parks Law enforcement. They cited him for camping on park land, however a title search of the property shows that it is not state land. In Paso Robles at the Albertson's the police were called when he was shopping. They talked to him. They said, these are not pets, this is not recreation, this is how he lives and how he gets around. And they left him alone. CHP could easily have helped him cross and or showed him an alternate route, and I think over the years many have. He had the bad luck to get the bad apple.
  13. NapaMark15
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    NapaMark15 - June 27, 2013 12:29 pm
    Can you read? Where does it say anything about Napa PD?

    It was CHP, which is quite different.

    Secondly, it's illegal for pedestrians (and animals) on a highway. I'm sure he is a nice guy and was just minding his own business but he puts people at risk by walking on the shoulder of a HIGHWAY.

    He broke the law and he got caught. I'm not sure why people are defending him and blaming it on the police .. and even more so, some of you blaming it on Napa PD.
  14. NapaMark15
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    NapaMark15 - June 27, 2013 12:32 pm
    We could basically disregard your entire first paragraph and jump straight to "I do not know what the man said or how he reacted to the CHP,.."

    You weren't there, and neither were we, but you make a lot of assumptions. What we do know right off the bat is that there is an inherent danger to him, his animals, and motorists for him walking his mules on the shoulder of a highway ... and breaking the law in the process.
  15. NapaMark15
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    NapaMark15 - June 27, 2013 12:35 pm
    Maybe they wanted to help him. Maybe they wanted to find out what was going on, see if he was okay, and then assist him.

    Maybe before they could do that he started acting up, causing his arrest.

    There's a lot to assume, but what we KNOW is that it was unsafe for him, his animals, and all motorists for him to be on the shoulder of a highway with these mules.

    He seems like a nice guy but one can get from one end of Napa (and most of Napa Valley for that matter) to the other without stepping foot on a highway.
  16. JUSTBOYS
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    JUSTBOYS - June 27, 2013 12:55 pm
    Mules do get spooked...see it myself....
  17. NapaMama11
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    NapaMama11 - June 27, 2013 2:04 pm
    I just checked out this guys website, very cool! Glad to know about him.
  18. MuleFriend
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    MuleFriend - June 27, 2013 7:24 pm
    Richard has it right! I personally known that Mule has traveled from Southern California thru the busiest dtreets in LA, Riverside and Sam Diego safely and politely. Yes Mules can spook but he knows his animals and how was he going to cross a bridge.?? We have hosted Mule and his animals for overnight feeding his animals and he has always been polite and kind. His message, To promote, respect and protect the outside world IE the wilderness, nature, Because of one indiviual officer who did not understand and was threaten by someone different and not quite fitting into his idea of how a person choses to live. What happen to protect and serve?? Its to bad someone in a car could not of been inconvience for a moment and the officer could have helped cross Mule and guide him where he could travel safely. Safe travels John you are in our prayers and thoughts. Please animal control take care of the mules.
  19. 455olds
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    455olds - June 29, 2013 1:33 pm
    He sounds like an American original! He and his mules are welcome at my place anytime.
  20. napalaseristmom
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    napalaseristmom - July 01, 2013 2:58 pm
    Perhaps he should have mounted one mule...

    21050. Every person riding or driving an animal upon a highway has ALL OF THE RIGHTS and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this division and Division 10 (commencing with Section 20000), except those provisions which by their very nature can have no application.
  21. garretth37
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    garretth37 - July 02, 2013 1:07 pm
    Have any of you broken down a bridge or a narrow road without a shoulder, can be the scariest thing in your life. People have died while being stuck, working on the side of road. The guy could have complied with the CHP but he didn't, instead of refused. He got arrested. Why should we all feel sorry for him, he put himself and his Mules in danger. Hitting a animal is sad, hitting a bigger animal like a mule might cause serious harm to others and the mule(s).

    All over we have places where signs say you can't do this or that, what makes this guy so special.
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