DeAnn Owens
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Speeding Dog Avoids Jail Time for Hit-and-Run

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German Shepherd with head out window

Most dogs love to ride in the car, hanging their heads out the window to feel the wind and sense of freedom only the open road can offer. For one dog, though, passenger status wasn’t enough. His owner decided to upgrade a beloved car ride into a driving lesson that didn’t end well.

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A Washington state man let his canine best friend take the wheel of his 1996 Buick for approximately 50 miles while he watched from the passenger seat, according to Autoblog writer Sven Gustafson. Unfortunately, the fun ended when the driving duo caused an accident and then fled the scene. Police pursued them in a high-speed chase on Interstate 5.

“The car was spotted on the interstate near the Snohomish River in Everett, and officials told KOMO-TV the vehicle was driving more than 100 miles per hour whey they began pursuit. The vehicle left the freeway near the Stanwood exit — 57 miles north of the hit-and-run — and then drove into the nearby Centennial Trail, a rails-to-trail bike path. The chase finally ended after police were able to deploy spike strips,” Gustafson reports.

Once the Buick came to a stop, the human passenger was apprehended by police. Charges include reckless driving, suspicion of driving under the influence, hit-and-run, and felony eluding.

CNN writer Alaa Elassar reports that the man has a March 30 court date and a bond of $8,500.

According to writer Harriet Sokmensuer, the driving dog was taken to an animal shelter.

Most pet owners and responsible humans understand that letting a pet drive is not a good, smart, or even legal thing to do. In fact, dogs should be safely restrained in a moving vehicle, never in the driver’s seat even if the seatbelt is fastened.

“The safest way for your dog to travel in the car is in a crate that has been anchored to the vehicle using a seat belt or other secure means. Dog restraints or seat belts are useful for preventing your dog from roaming around the car and being a distraction to the driver, but they haven’t been reliably shown to protect dogs during a crash,” according to the Humane Society of the United States.

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