Two siblings were pulled over by Florida police recently after they took their mom’s car. They were stopped on a freeway, where they had been driving for 200 miles. The scariest part of the story? They were just 10 and 11 years old.
The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office told the Associated Press that local officers spotted a sedan driving on I-75 near Gainesville, Florida just before 4 a.m. last Thursday. The car had been reported as stolen, and when officers pulled the car over they pulled out their weapons as they believed car thieves were behind the stolen vehicle, ordering the passengers out of the car. Imagine how shocked they were to discover the sedan was being driven by a 10-year-old boy. His 11-year-old sister, both of whom had been reported missing by their mother four hours earlier in the southwest Florida town of North Port, was sitting in the passenger’s seat.
“Much to their surprise, deputies observed a 10-year-old male driver exit the vehicle along with his 11-year-old sister,” the Alachua Country Sheriff’s Office explained in a press release. The two children were three hours away from home. According to the officers, the young girl admitted that she was upset because her mother had taken away her electronics due to some bad behavior, and her brother decided to drive her to California.
The children, whose names have not been released, were returned home to their mother. Police determined that there were no issues of mistreatment in the home, and the mother declined to press charges in regards to the stolen vehicle.
This is not the first time police have intercepted an underaged driver behind the wheel and hundreds of miles from home. In 2019, an 11-year-old boy was stopped by a South Carolina police officer as he was driving more than 200 miles away from home. He told the officer at the time that he had taken his brother’s car and was driving to live with a stranger he met on Snapchat. He had lost his GPS signal and the man’s message had disappeared. The young boy, whose identity was not shared, was reunited with his father later that day. The man who had been messaging with the young boy was never found.
The thought of a child getting behind the wheel of a car and driving for hours is terrifying. Here’s hoping there aren’t any more similar stories in the future.