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Florida man arrested for drunk driving blames dog

A Florida DWI suspect allegedly offered authorities an unusual explanation for his vehicle's erratic movements: "My dog was driving."

The Manatee County Sheriff's Office said a deputy attempted a traffic stop shortly before 8 p.m. Oct. 7 on a white four-door vehicle seek speeding through a neighborhood.

The sheriff's office said the vehicle sped up while attempting a turn and ended up traveling through a ditch on the side of the road. The driver then over-corrected, swerved and ended up going through a ditch on the opposite side of the road before crashing into a house, investigators said.


The suspect, later identified as Reliford Cooper, fled on foot and a K9 unit soon found his t-shirt in front of a church.

A pastor from the church told a deputy that someone was hiding in the facility's bathroom. Churchgoers forced Cooper out, and he was placed under arrest.

"I wasn't driving that car." Cooper allegedly told deputies while he was being handcuffed. "Who was chasing me? You're slow as [expletive]!"

A deputy told Cooper he smelled of alcohol and marijuana, leading him to allegedly offer an explanation for the events.

"My dog was driving that car. I ran because I wanted to. You ain't gonna find no drugs or guns on me," Cooper allegedly said, before vomiting and complaining of a back injury.
Cooper was arrested on charges including DWI with property damage, aggravated fleeing, leaving the scene of a crash with property damage and resisting/obstructing an officer without violence. He was taken to Manatee Memorial hospital for examination and later transported to jail.

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