- Kentucky Officer Shot and Killed, Suspect at Large
- U.S. Man Wanted for Czech Murders Arrested by FBI at Dulles
- Lawsuit Claims Deputy Shot Man But Didn't Call Paramedics
- Mother Killed, Kids Hurt, after Shoplifters Crash in Houston
- Washington, D.C. Transit Police Arrest AED Thief
- Suspect in Killing of Utah Officer Found Dead in Cell
- New Jersey Cop Accused of Setting Fire to Captain's Home
RICHMOND, Va. -- Jan. 7--A 6-year-old Northern Neck boy was so upset at missing the bus that he took the family's car and tried to drive to school on the other end of Northumberland County before crashing.
The 2005 Ford Taurus ended up with extensive damage, the parents were arrested, and the boy was taken to the hospital to be checked over -- before authorities drove him to school.
The child was not injured beyond "a goose egg on his forehead," Northumberland Sheriff Chuck Wilkins said.
No other injuries were reported, and no other vehicles were damaged in a 10-mile-plus odyssey that Wilkins described as "a miracle. It really is. One miracle after another."
Virginia State Police trooper J.L. Lewis said the incident began Monday about 7 a.m. when the child missed the school bus at his home near the community of Wicomico Church, in the eastern end of the county.
Lewis said the boy was unable to wake up his mother, so he took the keys to the Taurus and began driving toward Northumberland Elementary School.
After negotiating one red light and one stop sign, the child was westbound on U.S. 360 at 7:40 a.m. when he lost control of the car, ran off the right side of the road, then the left side, then the right again before striking an embankment and a utility pole near state Route 636 and the community of Avalon, Lewis said.
Wilkins said the child, who was not wearing a seat belt, drove 10.4 miles and was within 1.2 miles of the school in Heathsville before wrecking on one of the Northern Neck's main arteries. At the time of the crash, the boy was passing several cars and a tractor-trailer, Wilkins said.
The Taurus slammed passenger-side first into what Wilkins described as "a major transmission line. The impact rattled it so hard that it broke the support for the cross-arm at the extreme top of the pole. We had to close the highway for a little over an hour."
After the boy was checked out at Rappahannock General Hospital, county social-services workers drove him to school, Wilkins said.
Wilkins said the boy told authorities he was especially eager to get to school because he wanted to eat breakfast and attend gym class.
"I think he really loves school," Wilkins said.
The boy told authorities he was able to drive the Taurus by moving its electric driver's seat all the way to the forward position.
"He said he had learned how to drive by playing video games such as 'Grand Theft Auto,'" said Wilkins, who added that county social-services workers "were well aware of the young man. They had some prior contact with the family."
Wilkins said Jaqulyn Deana Waltman, 26, and David Eugene Dodson, 40, were charged with child neglect, a Class 6 felony.
Dodson, who according to Wilkins was already at work when the boy took the car, was released from Northern Neck Regional Jail yesterday on $5,000 bond. Waltman was being held without bond.
The boy and his 4-year-old sibling were in the custody of Northumberland social-services officials.