9-year-old California boy tries to drive to school, leads police on chase

ByMargot Rowe, CNNWire
Friday, March 29, 2024
9-year-old NorCal boy tries to drive to school, leads police on chase
9-year-old NorCal boy tries to drive to school, leads police on chase

OROVILLE, Calif. -- A California police officer got a shocking surprise when the car he was chasing came to a stop.

Behind the wheel? A 9-year-old boy making his way to school.

"Just shock, several other officers showed up as well and it was kind of one of those 'no one really believed it' kind of things. So several other officers showed up to the scene just to see in fact that it was a 9-year-old driving the vehicle," said Officer Terry Dunn with the Oroville California Highway Patrol.

Officer Dunn noticed the car stopped in the middle of intersection of Fourth and Grand. He then announced over the PA system for the car to move, to which the boy turned onto Fourth Street, making his way through this intersection and then through the parking lot of the Valero gas station that I'm standing at. Now, after navigating his way through the gas station he made his way through to the dirt lot over there where he then backed into Officer Dunn's patrol car.

"A few seconds later, I did notice a little head bobbin inside - unusual. I exited my patrol vehicle, made an approach, and as I was approaching, I could see a kid which turned out to be a 9-year-old child sticking his head out saying, 'I'm sorry, I was trying to get to school,'" Dunn said.

The boy's school was right next door.

"At that point, we're trying to identify if that was the school he was actually heading to. We contacted the principal, we contacted the parent, and everyone showed up to the scene," Dunn said.

Officer Dunn says despite no one getting hurt, it should serve as a lesson to keep the car keys out of kids' reach and teach kids the importance of driver safety and laws.

"Hopefully a lot of other people take this to heart and learn from it. So, hopefully this doesn't happen again in the future. Just maybe talk to your children about the dangers of driving a vehicle and what could possibly happen," Dunn said.

Officer Dunn says the boy actually got to go to school after the whole situation.

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