Video: 7-year-old leads police on high-speed chase staff and news service reports
updated 6/22/2011 12:26:44 PM ET 2011-06-22T16:26:44

A 7-year-old Michigan boy barefoot and in pajamas drove a car for 20 miles, sometimes hitting speeds of 50 mph, before finally slowing down and stopping with the help of authorities.

"He was crying and just kept saying he wanted to go to his dad's," Caseville Police Chief Jamie Learman said. "That was pretty much it. He just wanted to go to his dad's."

Police began looking for the Pontiac Sunfire around 10:15 a.m. Monday after someone called about a very young driver. The boy was staying with his mother in Huron County's Sheridan Township, a rural area 110 miles north of Detroit. She had worked the 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 in Caseville Township, some 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 fishtailed.

"When that happened, he seemed to be increasing his speeds," Learman said.

The chief sped ahead and tried to box-in the Sunfire 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.

The sheriff noted that the boy's height was estimated at around 4 feet. One of the first people to call 911 reportedly said the boy was standing instead of sitting and he could barely see over the steering wheel.

Learman said he's seen drivers under 15 but not someone this young.

"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 7-year-old didn't follow the traffic laws."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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