A Washington state man who led police on a high-speed chase on Sunday may have not actually been driving ― officers said they found the suspect’s pet pit bull behind the wheel after his 1996 Buick crashed, Seattle TV station KOMO reported.
The unidentified 51-year-old male suspect, from Lakewood, Washington, is now facing several charges including DUI, reckless driving, hit-and-run and felony eluding, authorities said. The man allegedly struck two cars and failed to stop both times, leading state troopers on a high-speed chase up Interstate 5, the spokeswoman said. No major injuries were reported in either crash.
One trooper reported seeing the pit bull in the driver’s seat with the owner handling the steering wheel from the passenger seat. The car reportedly hit speeds of 109 mph during the chase, and at one point drove on a popular trail for pedestrians and cyclists (it was fortunately empty).
Washington State Patrol officer Heather Axtman said the driver told police that he was “trying to teach his dog how to drive,” according to CNN.
Axtman added: “I wish I could make this up. 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.”
The officer said the pit bull ― whom she described as a “very sweet girl” ― was taken to a local animal shelter.
Her owner was later released on an $8,500 bond, according to USA Today.