Eleven-year-old takes another joyride

HOUSTON It's the second time the youngster has done this. We told you about his first joyride back in March.

The youngster's mother said her son is not responsible for what happened and she's taking a local school to task.

The boy is charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. His mother said he has developed a dangerous fascination with keys, cars, and driving, and that he learned to drive playing video games.

Houston police took the special needs boy in for questioning after an officer pulled him over Monday afternoon, driving a car belonging to one of his teachers.

"If he's able to slip away like that, I mean somebody is not doing their job," said the boy's mother, LaShonda MaGee.

Hardly able to see over the steering wheel, the boy's joyride lasted about eight miles, beginning at his school, the Adaptive Behavioral Center East near the South Loop and I-45.

His mother said he went up the East Loop, over the Ship Channel Bridge, and then east on I-10 before being pulled over by police near Mercury.

"That's pretty far for an eleven-year-old," said MaGee.

School officials said the boy somehow swiped his teacher's car keys from her purse in her classroom while she was working with another student, and that he bolted around dismissal time. The teacher gave chase as the pre-teen got into her Chevy Malibu and sped off through an open gate before anyone could stop him.

This is not the first time the boy has taken a joyride in an educator's vehicle. In March of last year, authorities said he stole the keys to his assistant principal's car and drove ten miles from school. He only stopped after he got into a minor wreck near I-10 and Waco. No one was hurt.

The school district admits the student was not to be left alone. They're trying to determine if he was.

"We will do everything in our power if we have to adjust all procedures to make sure it doesn't happen again," said Tammy Lanier of the Harris County Dept. of Education.

The boy's mother said he is mentally retarded, autistic, bipolar, and has a number of other psychological issues. Given his history, she wonders how safe he is at the school.

"Where was the staff? If he's supposed to be supervised, then where is the staff? What's going on? Someone is not doing their job," said MaGee.

The teacher refused to talk to us about this incident. Police told us the boy hit her with her car when she jumped in front of it trying to stop him. Her injuries though are minor. She has been placed on administrative leave pending the school district's investigation.

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