2006_11_rapidrabbi.JPGDid you see CBS 2 Investigates: Too Good For Gridlock? The too-good-for-gridlock offender is Isaac Heschel, a diamond dealer who is also a rabbi and volunteers time as a chaplain to the MTA and Port Authority Police. Heschel frequently uses sirens and lights in his Crown Victoria, but neither agency gave him sirens or lights, meaning that Heschel pimped the car out for emergency fun himself.

CBS 2 was tipped off by an anonymous member of law enforcement: "Sent with the tape was a note that claimed Heschel was putting pedestrians and other drivers in danger." So reporter Scott Weinberger followed Heschel for days:

At crosswalks he used lights to move pedestrians along. And if traffic gets too bad he drives the wrong way up a street. Remember, he is not a cop. He is not going to an emergency...

...It was on the way to the Diamond District that day we saw Heschel’s official looking car use the HOV lane to avoid a major traffic jam on the Prospect Expressway.

When lights and sirens aren't enough, not even a tie up at the Lincoln Tunnel stops our reckless rabbi. The lights flash; he gets out and actually moves several traffic cones, and then drives past a Port Authority Police checkpoint without ever being challenged.

Scott Weinberger: "What was the necessity for you to use your lights, to remove cones, to go through a closed entrance of the Lincoln Tunnel?"

Heschel: "Sir, I don't think what I do I need to discuss with you."

Not only that, he Heschel used a number of parking cards to avoid tickets! Now, the MTA and PA Police are no longer working with Heschel.

In 2004, Mayor Bloomberg stripped all non-essential city cars of sirens and lights when one of his deputy mayors used them to get through traffic during her morning commute.