Dog on driver's lap may be factor in crash that killed woman, pet

PURDY, Wash. — The Washington State Patrol said a driver who caused a crash that led to her own death may have been distracted by a small dog sitting on her lap.

The two-car crash occurred Wednesday morning on State Route 302 at 118th Avenue Northwest near Purdy.

Troopers said the victim, a 47-year-old Gig Harbor woman, had her Chihuahua on her lap at the time of the crash.  The dog was also killed by the impact of the head-on collision.

"A dog in her lap definitely could be a distraction, and we’re looking at that as a possibility and a factor in this collision,” said Trooper Guy Gill.

Video from Chopper 7 showed the wreckage of the two vehicles under a heavy canopy of trees on the winding stretch of highway.

Police said the Gig Harbor woman hit a Ford Explorer driven by the wife of a Fircrest police officer.  She and her 7-year-old daughter were hurt, but neither suffered life-threatening injuries.

The roadway was dry and visibility was good at the time of the crash, so investigators are focusing on distraction as the likely cause.

The State Patrol is also looking into other possible causes for the crash, including alcohol and drugs, but said they were likely not involved.

SR 302 was closed for hours during the investigation.