Calling all K-9s: Police chase man 'teaching his dog how to drive' in Washington state

Call the K-9 unit.

Traffic in Spokane, Wash., is lighter than normal due to the coronavirus pandemic — but it’s still not light enough to teach a dog how to drive.

Washington State troopers say a man put his canine friend behind the wheel and damaged two cars while driving “erratically” on an interstate highway on Sunday, prompting a high-speed chase that “miraculously” ended without any injuries.


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“I wish I could make this up,” Washington State Patrol spokesperson Heather Axtman told CNN.

“I’ve never heard this excuse … that they were teaching their dog how to drive.”

Police received several 911 calls on Sunday evening about a sedan “driving erratically” at over 160 km/h (100 mph) on Interstate 5 in Seattle, Axtman said. The car allegedly crashed into multiple vehicles before police spotted it and took off in pursuit.

Axtman said it was “just crazy driving,” according to the Everett Daily Herald newspaper.

The runaway car eventually turned off the highway and struck out onto the Centennial Trail, a paved hiking route through Spokane, with police in hot pursuit.


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Officers eventually got ahead of the vehicle and planted spike strips to disable the car’s wheels, the Everett Daily Herald reports. The car was ultimately brought to a halt without causing any injuries.

“The fact that there wasn’t anybody on the trail is nothing shy of miraculous,” Axtman said.

State troopers approached the vehicle and saw a pitbull sitting in the driver’s seat alongside a man in the passenger’s seat, Axtman said.

“When we took him into custody … he admitted to our troopers that he was trying to teach his dog to drive,” she told the AFP.


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Axtman added that it’s illegal for a driver not to be sitting in the driver’s seat of a motor vehicle.

Alberto Tito Alejandro, 51, is facing charges of reckless endangerment, reckless driving, attempt to elude, driving under the influence of drugs and hit and run, jail records show. Axtman confirmed Alejandro’s identity to the AFP.

He was slated to appear in court on Monday.

Axtman described the suspect’s pitbull as a “very sweet girl,” and said the pooch has been placed in an animal shelter.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

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