A Texas woman allegedly gave her 7-year-old son the steering wheel during a drive because she was inebriated. Their vehicle promptly crashed but both mother and child escaped unscathed.
On Dec. 8, Carrie Lynn Fink of Lufkin was charged with felony child endangerment and driving while intoxicated with a child under the age of 15 in her vehicle. She has posted collective bail of $4,000 and was released from detention in Angelina County Jail, Texas.
Fink allegedly allowed her son, Clayton, to drive her Honda CRV because she had been drinking. She placed the child on her lap to help her steer. The boy was nearly a decade away from being eligible to legally drive. The vehicle crashed into a fence near a local business.
The Lufkin Police Department was called to the scene and found both Fink and Clayton waiting at a table inside the business. An affidavit for Fink's arrest disclosed that employee Yvette De La Garza had seen the mother allowing her son to drive, the Houston Chronicle reports.
"Yvette advised that she personally witnessed Carrie operating the vehicle with Clayton in her lap as the vehicle traveled erratically in the parking lot prior to the crash into a fence," the affidavit said.
The officer also determined that Fink was intoxicated, noting that she had bloodshot eyes and was unable to properly walk, KTRE reports.
The affidavit added that Fink had a "strong odor of alcohol emitting from her person."
Fink reportedly admitted to the officer that she had been drinking wine that evening and appointed her son to pilot the vehicle.
The mother has prior convictions related to drug use in Texas. In 2013, Fink received two years of probation for child-endangerment, according to the Dallas News.
The incident could have been far worse. Meanwhile, another case of a child driving had a happier ending.
On April 9, an 8-year-old boy from Ohio stole his parents' van to drive himself and his 4-year-old sister to a local McDonald's. The restaurant staffers were flabbergasted when the child pulled up to the drive-through window with his piggy bank in tow.
Patrolman Jacob Koehler of East Palestine responded to the scene. To his shock, eyewitnesses said that the boy's driving was impeccable.
"The kid learned how to drive on YouTube," Koehler told the Morning Journal. "He probably looked it up for five minutes and then said it was time to go. ... He didn't hit a single thing on the way there. It was unreal."
Both the precocious boy and his sister got their McDonald's order. No charges were filed. Their parents will presumably hide their car keys in the future.