11-year-old charged with driving drunk
MIAMI (Reuters) - An 11-year-old girl was charged with drunken driving after leading police on a chase at speeds of up to 100 mph that ended when she flipped the car in an Alabama beach town.
A video camera in the police car captured the look of surprise on the officer's face when he approached the wrecked car and got a look at the motorist.
The Mobile Press-Register newspaper said the patrolman saw the Chevrolet Monte Carlo speeding and flashed his lights to signal the driver to stop. Instead, the car sped faster, traveling at up to 100 mph (160 kph) before sideswiping another vehicle and flipping over in the Gulf Coast town of Orange Beach, Alabama, on Tuesday night.
The young driver, who lived nearby in Perdido Key, Florida, was treated at a hospital for scrapes and bruises and released to relatives. Police also charged her with speeding, leaving the scene of an accident and reckless endangerment.
The car belonged to a relative and police were still trying to find out where she got the alcohol. There was none in the vehicle but her blood alcohol level was over the limit for adult motorists, police told the newspaper.
ORANGE BEACH, Alabama (AP) -- Police who chased a car for miles along a highway at speeds up to 100 mph said the driver was drunk, hardly a rarity in this resort town. But there was more: When they looked inside the flipped vehicle with guns drawn, they found an 11-year-old girl at the wheel.
"You go up there thinking it's a felon you're dealing with," assistant police Chief Greg Duck said.
The girl, who was slightly injured in the crash, is now charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, speeding, reckless endangerment and leaving the scene of an accident. Duck said she sideswiped another vehicle during the roughly 8-mile chase.
The chase began around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday when a patrol officer near the Florida line saw the car speeding west along a beach highway, Duck said. When the officer flicked on his lights, the driver sped up. The girl rolled the car just inside the Gulf Shores city limit.
Duck said the girl, whose name was not released because of her age, told police she was on her way to pick up her sister at a concert.
Investigators found no alcohol in the car but believe the girl drank before getting behind the wheel of the car, which belongs to relatives.
Duck declined to release the girl's blood alcohol level but said a blood test at the hospital showed it was higher than .02, the legal limit for minors