Observers compared the transfer of the ballots in a yellow Ryder truck to the O.J. Simpson white Bronco ride in 1994, with helicopters buzzing above the convoy, bystanders snapping photos and police escorting the truck front and back.
Law enforcement authorities watched carefully as the truck loaded with ballots headed for Tallahassee. Reporters, passersby and motorists stared as an armed sheriff’s department deputy secured the rear sliding door of the truck before it made its way onto the highway to begin the 450-mile trip. Law enforcement vehicles surround the truck to protect its front and rear as it began its route, turning onto the Ronald Reagan Turnpike.
The convoy was covered on live television throughout the country, including TV helicopters. "Oh my God. The whole world is watching!" said Lt. Jim Kersey, who was driving the lead car in the convoy.
The truck almost immediately encountered a rush hour traffic tie-up as it began its route.
The ballots were hauled to Tallahassee, where a judge this weekend will decide whether they should be counted again in a court challenge by Vice President Al Gore's legal team.
The county’s voting systems coordinator, Tony Enos, was the driver of the truck. He took along three voting machines and was to testify in the hearing on Saturday.
The convoy took a lunch break at a rest area not far from Disney World, where Enos granted a few interviews. Bystanders posed for pictures with the truck. Someone draped a sign reading "No Chad Zone" from an overpass near Orlando.
Even O.J. Simpson, who now lives in Florida, watched the spectacle, reports the Associated Press.
The Ryder TRS truck was donated by Budget Group from Embry's Truck Rental, a Ryder TRS dealership in West Palm Beach, Fla.