By on April 2, 2020

A man was arrested Sunday after leading Washington State law enforcement on a high-speed pursuit. Reports allege he struck two cars during what looked to be an extreme case of joyriding, but the plot thickened as the situation morphed into a police chase along Interstate 5. As they caught up, Washington State Patrol said they noticed there was a dog behind the wheel.

At the time, the vehicle was travelling in excess of 100 mph.

Police used spike strips to finally bring the vehicle to a halt, with trooper Heather Axtman noting that one of her coworkers realized the pit bull was actually sitting in the lap of a man who was helping it steer while also controlling the pedals. Once stopped, he told authorities he was attempting to teach the dog to drive. 

“I wish I could make this up,” Axtman told CNN. “I’ve been a trooper for almost 12 years and wow, I’ve never heard this excuse. I’ve been in a lot of high speed chases, I’ve stopped a lot of cars, and never have I gotten an excuse that they were teaching their dog how to drive.”

It seems like the perfect excuse. Dogs, which cannot speak, are ideal for taking the blame for things you’s prefer not to get into trouble for. For most people, this stops at passing gas at a family function. And yet the possibilities are endless so long as its realistic or hysterically funny. Unfortunately, law enforcement didn’t find public endangerment all that comical; as well, the arresting officer couldn’t believe the pit bull had made quite so much progress on her first day of driving.

“He was driving very erratically. So erratically that multiple people called 911,” Axtman noted.

The chase itself sounds pretty reckless, too. The unidentified 51-year-old from Lakewood slapped his 1996 Buick Park Avenue into at least two vehicles in the Seattle area around lunchtime before being spotted 40 miles north of the city on Interstate 5. By the time law enforcement got directly involved, he and the dog were already traveling at a high rate of speed in Snohomish County. Axtman said he was clocked at 109 mph and hinted that there may have been some minor contact with police vehicles.

Local outlet KOMO News reported that the pursuit eventually left the highway and ended on a bicycle route near Kackman Road and Grandview Trail. The Buick endured minor damage as it veered into a ditch, with no injuries sustained to the occupants. Washington State Patrol said the “driver” faces several charges, including DUI, reckless driving, hit-and-run, and felony eluding.

The dog could face charges of driving without a license, though Axtman confirmed her status as a “very sweet girl.” She’s was being held at a local animal shelter (and has hopefully been picked up by now).

[Image: Andrew Williams/Shutterstock]

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