Wed Jan 11, 6:55 PM ET
SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Eager to get his driver's licence, a seven-year-old boy put on his seat belt and remembered to use his turn signal as he took his parents' pickup truck out for a spin, leading police on a slow pursuit around town.
Officers initially thought they were chasing a drunken driver Monday night. "He was weaving and all over the road. He couldn't stay in his lane," Officer Josh Laverette said.
Instead, when the truck finally stopped in front of a home after the 11-kilometre escapade, they found a second-grader, barely four feet tall, behind the wheel. The house belonged to his parents.
"He was so short he had to sit up close to the steering wheel," Laverette said. "Whenever he would brake, he would pick himself up with his left foot and stomp on the brake with his right."
The pickup had swerved through traffic and busy intersections, nearly hitting one car stopped at a stop light and barely missing at least five oncoming cars, Laverette said.
When he finally stopped and authorities talked to him, "He said the reason he took the vehicle was because he wanted to get his licence," Laverette said.
Nine years too early for the licence test, the boy was charged with driving without a licence and eluding police. He faces a hearing later this week in juvenile court.
Susan Daniel described the scene in the streets of Shelbyville, a town of about 14,000 residents 80 kilometres east of Nashville: "There were like probably five city cars and three county cars and a state trooper" all chasing the pickup.
"It blew my mind because we actually watched him put on his turn signal and turn, and we could see when he went past that he had seat belts on," Daniel said. "Then to come find out it was a child, I was really shocked