ARLINGTON — Of all the things to blame on man’s best friend, driving under the influence was a novel excuse to Washington State Patrol trooper Heather Axtman.
A 51-year-old Lakewood man, allegedly under the influence of drugs, sped above 100 mph and crashed into other vehicles on northbound I-5 in Seattle. People calling 911 said they saw the 1996 Buick Park sedan “driving erratically” at high speeds, even ripping off I-5 at 128th Street Southwest in Everett, only to go right back onto the freeway, Axtman said.
“Just crazy driving,” she said.
Troopers saw him near 88th Street Northeast in Marysville, where he again allegedly sped off from law enforcement, reaching 109 mph. They pursued him to Highway 530, where he exited the freeway toward Arlington and drove on and off the Centennial Trail. Law enforcement officers used spike strips to disable the car’s wheels, and the vehicle finally stopped alongside the path, which reserved for non-motorized movement. Axtman said she did not hear of any people using the trail nearby.
State Patrol troopers allegedly found a dog in the driver’s seat, next to the man. He reportedly told troopers he was teaching his dog to drive.
“It’s illegal for you not to be in the driver’s seat operating a motor vehicle,” Axtman said.
Officers took him into custody for investigation of reckless endangerment, eluding police and driving under the influence of drugs. He was taken to a hospital before likely being booked into the Snohomish County Jail, but his injuries were not serious, she said.
The dog was taken to an animal shelter.