Police: 7-Year-Old Drives Car To Visit Dad

CASEVILLE (WWJ/AP) – He was on his way to visit Dad. Police in Caseville are happy there are no injuries after a 7-year-old boy took his mother’s car on a 20-mile drive.

Video provided by Huron County Sheriff’s Office

Caseville Police Chief Jamie Learman said he was “dumbfounded” when he saw the boy his head barely above the steering wheel.

“We were following him, lights and sirens. He kept going off the side of the road. He would hit the gravel and almost lose control, and he would come back onto the asphalt. He appeared to be speeding up, and we were going about 50 (mph),” Learman told WWJ’s Sandra McNeil.

“I passed him in an attempt to get passed him in an attempt to get in front of him, slow him down. When I went by him he looked at me and had tears just rolling down his face,” Learman said.

Barefoot and in pajamas, Learman said the boy drove the Pontiac Sunfire for 20 miles before hitting the brakes.

He tearfully told police officers he just wanted to get to his father’s home in Filion.

The boy was staying with his mother in Huron County’s Sheridan Township, a rural area 110 miles north of Detroit. She had worked the night shift and was unaware her son and the car were gone.

Huron County Sheriff Kelly Hanson said the prosecutor’s office and child welfare officials are investigating.

The prosecutor “is going to want to know things like … where did he learn how to drive?” Hanson said.

Learman said he’s seen drivers under 15 but not someone this young.

“I’m just glad he didn’t get hurt, and no one else got hurt. I can just imagine the stop signs and other things he didn’t stop for. I’m just assuming a 7-year-old didn’t follow the traffic laws,” Learman said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  • A Michigan Resident

    What’s the big deal? If you drive Metro Detroit you’re driving with a lot of “7 year olds”. If a driver isn’t drunk out of their mind, or late for an appointment, or texting, or reading a book or just plain careless and thoughtless about humanity in general Metro Detroit driving sees it all every day. I also hear lots of people trying to get away from their mothers too.

    Parents need to take better care of their responsibilities

    • Tracy

      To me it’s not about the actions of the child but the reason for his actions. He is a broken-hearted 7 year old, what more punishment can anybody do to him…just solve the problem so he doesn’t feel he needs to go to this exteme again to see his father.

  • Kathy Shaw

    To answer the question about how a 7 year old may have learned how to drive, I can tell you this. I was 5, and driving my parent’s 67 Dodge Dart. I learned how to drive by watching my parents and from them and a good thing too. I was 9 years old, when my mother fell through a window at home, nearly severing her arm. Because we lived 50 miles away from the closest hosptial, and there was no such thing as 911 in those days, because there was no one else around, I was the one who drove my mother to the hospital that day. It happens and sometimes its a good thing that a child knows something like thsi. However the child should also know that he/she shouldn’t do it unless it’s an emergency and why they shouldn’t do it.

    In this case my concern lays in the fact that the mother, who works nights and probably very hard, had no one else to watch her child while she rested. Does she leave her child unattended everyday while she rest, or was this an isolated incident?

  • Chris

    Does he smoke with cigarettes LOL

    • what?

      Smoke with cigarettes???

  • mike

    Who’s watching him while his mither works the night shift?

    Something is happening which explains the desperate messures to see his dad!

    It’s very telling how he feels for his father!

  • Just Me

    The kid has moxie…i’m not advocating that 7 year olds go driving around ,it could have turned out badly but I admire his determination to change his situation and feel sad that he felt he needed to so strongly that he would attempt what he did.

  • whuhh

    The prosecutor is going to want to know where the child learned how to drive?? really? why waste money on that? To a seven year old there probably isn’t a difference between driving a car using a wheel and pedals on a PC game and using the same wheel and pedals in a real car. Maybe even learned by watching his parents. My 10 year old knows the concepts of how a car works and has since she was 5. The act of driving isn’t dificult.. driving safely is.

  • Helen Skor

    Well, just based on the footage, I can tell you that kid can drive better than most of the people on the roads in the DC Metro area!

    But in all seriousness, I’m glad the little dude didn’t get hurt (or hurt anyone else), and I’m glad that the cops approached the situation with level heads, because this could have ended very differently.

  • Aliya

    Poor little boy. Parents should pay more attention to the boy and care that he had no idea to commit desperate acts.

  • Maggie G

    Wheres his dad? Dad if you saw this on the news you need to get your “A” on the first plane and let your son know you love him!
    Is he being kept from his dad. Parents can be so thoughtless when it comes to there children.

  • guest

    This is common when you have STRAIGHT parents

  • http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2011/06/22/7-year-old-who-drove-car-may-appear-in-court/ 7-Year-Old Who Drove Car May Appear In Court « CBS Detroit

    […] }; }DETROIT (WWJ) – A 7-year-old Huron County boy who took his stepfather’s Pontiac Sunbird to drive to his biological father’s home is being petitioned to appear in family […]

  • http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2011/06/22/7-year-old-boy-charged-with-driving-car/ 7-year-old Boy Charged With Driving Car « CBS Detroit

    […] in his pajamas, the boy led police on a 50 mile-an-hour chase before he managed to stop the car, driving nearly 20 […]

  • The rest of the story

    Story left out a lot. Mom works midnights, step dad works days. Bio dad is about 20 miles away (at most) and has regualr visitation. He had just come back from spending the Fathers Day weekend with the bio father. No drama there, just a 7 year old who wanted to go to his dads again. The chld is not left alone in the home, hos mother or step dad are there when the other one works.

    Seems the mother laid down for about an hour or two at most after working a mignight shift.t. Since he is not 2, perhaps she didnt feel the need to send him to a sitter for that short of a time.

    They are now charging the child (yep the 7 year old) with joyriding, and unlawful use of a motot vehicle, and he has to go before a judge.

    • alanwillingham

      He didn’t seem all that joyful…. But seriously, what we have here is an industrious, motivated, determined young man with strong family values who loves and respects his Dad enough to find a way to be with him despite the obstacles.

  • The rest of the story

    Sorry for typos

  • Reader

    “I passed him in an attempt to get passed him” should be “I passed him in an attempt to get *past* him.”

  • http://linkchick.usglassmag.com/?p=1685 Clicks for June 23, 2011 | Welcome to Link Chick's Clicks

    […] Papa, I’m Coming Home That poor boy. He was probably terrified, too, in addition to wanting to see his dad. (Makes you wonder, doesn’t it, what life was like for him at mom’s if he got that desperate to try to drive himself.) I’m curious how he reached the pedals. Police: 7-Year-Old Drives Car To Visit Dad […]

  • Ceo Ranxem

    Great job kid for stopping a car without any major accident!!
    And great job officers for for doing your job!


  • alanwillingham

    Knowing how to drive is not a crime, yet it seems this is an area of focus as though it is some terrible thing that someone actually knows how to drive.

    The real issue here is that the driver is not legally licensed due to age requirements, not a poor driving record.

  • Yo

    More sinister sadistic behavior from the police state. Charging a crying 7 year old who missed his dad for doing something he had no ability to comprehend was wrong.

    • me

      Please. He’s seven, not three. Of course he knew he was doing wrong. Just because they’re charging him doesn’t mean he’s going to do time. His parents will probably need to pay a fine and he might have to do community service–as he should. He risked not just his own life that day.

  • http://iamtheeye.com/2011/06/23/police-charge-7-year-old-boy-for-taking-moms-car-on-20-mile-ride-to-visit-dad/ Police Charge 7-Year-Old Boy For Taking Mom’s Car On 20-Mile Ride To Visit Dad…

    […] in his pajamas, the boy led police on a 50 mile-an-hour chase before he managed to stop the car, driving nearly 20 […]

  • http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2011/10/08/father-gets-more-time-with-young-son-who-drove-car/ Father Gets More Time With Young Son Who Drove Car « CBS Detroit

    […] 7-years-old when he tried to drive to his father’s home. Barefoot and in pajamas, police say the boy drove for about 20 miles before hitting the brakes. When he was finally stopped, the boy tearfully told police officers he just wanted to get to his […]

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