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Dog Jumping on Owner’s Lap Caused Fatal Head-on Crash

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A dog jumped onto his owner’s lap while driving, leading to a fatal head-on crash that could easily have been avoided with the use of a simple harness and seat belt.


Distracted driving is blamed for more than 1,000 auto accidents every single day. While texting and driving is one of the biggest offenders, driving with dogs that aren’t properly restrained has also proven to be a deadly mistake.

On the night of November 6, a 73-year old man was killed on a Michigan roadway when another motorist became distracted by one of the six dogs in her pickup truck. Three of the 6 dogs were also killed.

Cyril Berry Jr. was traveling on Willis Road in York Township, Michigan on Wednesday night when a driver traveling in the opposite direction crossed over the center line and hit him head-on. The cause of the crash—distracted driving. The female driver, who remains in serious condition, was driving her pickup truck with 6 unrestrained dogs in the cab.

Washtenaw County police said “She said what happened was, the dog jumped into her lap, distracted her as she was trying to get him back into the seat, and she crossed the center line and hit that other vehicle.”

Berry died en route to the hospital. Three dogs, a Miniature Pinscher-mix and two Dachshunds, died in the crash. Three others, a Shih Tzu mix and two other Dachshunds, survived.

In any state across the country, traveling with a small child that isn’t properly restrained is illegal – but only New Jersey carries these same laws for pets. Studies have shown that approximately 98% of dogs aren’t properly restrained during travel. Not only is this unsafe for you and others on the road, but your dog faces injury if not restrained.

Click here for some safe travel tips – and a few facts that might change some minds about just tossing the dog in the backseat and taking off.

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