A barefoot seven-year-old boy wearing pyjamas hit speeds of 50mph while driving a car for 20 miles before Michigan police eventually forced him to stop.
The boy was stopped in a 55mph zone in Caseville Township only after two police cars gave chase and forced him to slow down. He had set off from his mother's house in the Pontiac Sunfire with the intention of driving to his father's house 15 miles away.
"He was crying and just kept saying he wanted to go to his dad's," said the Caseville police chief, Jamie Learman.
Police began looking for the car at 10.15am on Monday after receiving a call from someone who had spotted an underage driver. The boy was staying with his mother in Huron County's Sheridan Township, 110 miles north of Detroit. She had worked a night shift and was unaware her son and the car were gone.
The boy had hoped to drive to his father's home in Filion, also in northern Michigan. Police pulled him over about 15 miles to the west.
Learman told the Detroit Free Press he feared the boy would crash as the car veered to the right on a rural road and skidded wildly. "When that happened, he seemed to be increasing his speeds," Learman said.
He sped ahead and tried to box in the car with the help of a Huron County sheriff's deputy, who was behind in another vehicle. "I slowed down, he slowed down and eventually stopped," Learman said.
Huron County sheriff, Kelly Hanson, said the prosecutor's office and child welfare officials were reviewing the matter.
The prosecutor "is going to want to know things like ... where did he learn how to drive?" Hanson said.
"I'm just glad he didn't get hurt, and no one else got hurt," Learman said. "I can just imagine the stop signs and other things he didn't stop for. I'm just assuming a seven-year-old didn't follow the traffic laws."
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