A pit bull really needs to know how to drive, right? Police don’t think so.
Washington resident Alberto Tito Alejandro, 51, after leading police on a high-speed chase for 50 miles. When the vehicle eventually crashed, officers were shocked to discover a pit bull behind the wheel. Alejandro said he was trying to teach his dog how to drive.
During the chase, Alejandro’s 1996 Buick traveled at over 100 miles per hour and allegedly hit two other vehicles. The chase only ended when the vehicle drove onto a bicycle trail and hit troopers’ spike strips. When officers approached, they discovered the dog steering while Alejandro was pressing on the gas pedal. Alejandro was first taken to a local hospital, then booked on multiple felonies including driving under the influence of drugs.
“When we took him into custody, he admitted to our troopers that he was trying to teach his dog to drive,” Trooper Heather Axtman said. “I’ve been a trooper for almost ten years, and I’ve had a lot of excuses when I’ve arrested people or pulled people over, but I’ve never had an excuse that the dog was driving,.” Axtman added that the dog was not aggressive toward the arresting officers and had been placed in a shelter.
In 2017, Carrie L. Bernard took a similar approach while under the influence of alcohol. She placed her eight-year-old son on her lap and asked him to steer their way to the liquor store for more booze. However, they never made it to the store. A Milwaukee County sheriff’s deputy saw the car entering an on-ramp with a child seated on the driver’s lap.
“I think I might have a drink after this,” Bernard reportedly said after being detained in the cruiser. She had failed multiple field sobriety tests and showed obvious signs of impairment, according to police. She had also refused to cooperate with the deputy until his supervisor arrived on the scene and showed no remorse for risking her son’s life or putting others in danger.
“She stated there was no one who operated the car other than her,” Deputy Whitney Hendon said. But, Hendon seen the boy’s hands on the wheel. The deputy turned to the boy to verify his mother’s statement. “That’s when the small child began to cry,” he said, as if he didn’t want to rat his mother out. The boy sobbed, “I don’t want to go to jail.”
Bernard was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence (her 3rd offense, according to records) with a minor under sixteen years of age in the vehicle. The boy was subsequently turned over to Child Protective Services.
“It was concerning to me the mom would risk her 8-year-old child so she could operate a vehicle,” Hendon said, adding that the boy and his mother had not been wearing their seatbelts. “You’re risking your child and the public. It’s scary to think about.”
One thing’s for sure – it’s not every day one sees a pit bull or a young child behind the wheel of a vehicle. And, both could be equally dangerous.