Just when you think you’ve heard every excuse in the book…on Wednesday, October 7th at about 7:45 p.m. a DUI suspect gave Manatee County, Florida deputies a run for their money. The man lead officers on a high speed chase and when they finally apprehended him he told them that it wasn’t him behind the wheel, but his dog. Did the pooch get busted for DUI? Nope…for some reason the deputies didn’t quite believe the man’s story.
We’ve all made excuses for something that we’ve done at one time or another, but this is a little much. I get that the guy was drinking and clearly couldn’t make rational decisions, but come on! Did he actually think that would work? I can’t imagine some of the wild excuses that these officers have heard in their time, but this one had to be close to the top of the list.
Reliford Cooper III, 26, allegedly fled, drove through two ditches, ran a stop sign and eventually crashed into a house. Yes, you read that correctly, he crashed into a house. Maybe it just jumped out in front of him? That probably wasn’t his fault either.
Cooper tried to elude officers on foot and searched for refuge at a nearby church, but churchgoers chased him away. He was apprehended shortly after and while he was being handcuffed he told deputies, “I wasn’t driving the car.” He later elaborated on his story by saying, “my dog was driving that car.” Not surprisingly, the arresting officer noted that he smelled burnt marijuana and a strong odor of alcohol in the vehicle.
Thankfully, no dog was actually seen in the vehicle or around the premises after the vehicle crashed. I’m not sure what is in the water in Florida, but back in August a woman in Wildwood (near Orlando) Florida used the same excuse when she was arrested for suspicion of DUI. Christina Anne Marie Lamoreaux crashed her car into an apartment building, but told police that her dog was responsible for the dangerous driving.
Lamoreaux fled the scene of the accident, but police tracked her down easily since she left her car behind. When they found her in her apartment a short time later, she was still disoriented and smelled of alcohol. Lamoreaux didn’t actually say that her dog was behind the wheel of the car, but she did blame the incident on her pooch.
It may sound silly to you, but it happens more than you’d think. Pets are often blamed for bumping the wheel or the shifter, distracting the driver by making a strange noise or becoming ill, or for crawling on the driver while they are trying to concentrate on the road. Pet owners may try to blame their pets, but the only one at fault in these situations is the owner.
It is extremely important to make sure that your dog is secured while you’re driving and he is not freely wandering around the car. There are many options to choose from, so you can select the product that meets your needs, fits your vehicle and is comfortable for your pet. You can place your dog in a canine car seat or secure them via the seatbelt with the use of a car harness.
If you have a large breed it may be better to purchase a pet barrier that will keep him in the back seat or the cargo space behind the back seat. You could also use a crate to keep your dog contained while you’re on the road. No matter what you do, be sure that your dog is safely secured anytime that you’re driving – even if you’re only driving a few miles. Free roaming pets can be a huge distraction, and they can also become a very dangerous projectile in the event of an accident.