SAND LAKE, Mich. – A 4-year-old boy drove his mother's car to a video store a quarter-mile from their apartment in this town about 15 miles north of Grand Rapids.
Unable to reach the accelerator, the boy managed to put the car in gear and make his way to the store about 1:30 a.m. Friday, Sand Lake (search) Police Chief Doug Heugel said. Finding the store closed, the youngster began a slow trip home.
Weaving and with its headlights off, the car got the attention of Officer Jay Osga, who first thought he was following a car that had been left running at a gas pump.
He flipped on his lights when the car turned into the apartment complex and struck two parked cars. The boy put the car in reverse and struck Osga's cruiser.
Osga then discovered the boy, whose mother told police her son tried to drive the car earlier after she let him steer the vehicle from her lap.
"He's 4 years old, his mom didn't even know he was up," Heugel told The Grand Rapids Press for a Sunday story. "I don't think he even realizes what he did."
No charges will be filed against the boy or his mother, Heugel said.
It was the third time in six weeks that a west Michigan child was caught driving a vehicle.
A 7-year-old girl sustained minor injuries Dec. 23 after she took a van for a drive and collided with a car near her home in Ottawa County's Robinson Township (search). The other driver wasn't injured.
On Jan. 13, an 11-year-old Norton Shores (search) boy took a school bus on a two-mile joyride that left smashed mailboxes and broken utility poles in its wake. There were no reported injuries.