A man in southern California was arrested Sunday after allegedly allowing his 11-year-old nephew to drive his car while he was drunk and passed out in the passenger seat.
Police pulled the car over after noticing several traffic violations as well as the fact that a kid was driving, the Port Hueneme Police Department said in a statement on Facebook.
The car reportedly pulled over, ending up slightly off the road, and police discovered the driver was an 11-year-old boy. During the traffic stop, police said they received calls from people reporting a child “driving a vehicle with a male front passenger slumped in the seat.”
“The kid obviously did not know how to drive a car. He was making traffic violations, weaving, the speed was erratic," Sgt. Christopher Graham of the Port Hueneme police told KTLA.
The man in the passenger seat was Genoro Lopez, 29, who the boy said was his uncle, the statement said. Police said the boy initially claimed his uncle was giving him a driving lesson but later admitted that he was actually his uncle’s designated driver.
Inside the car, police reportedly found that the boy was propped up in the driver’s seat on a folded sweatshirt “to assist him in reaching the pedals and seeing over the steering wheel.” Lopez was also seen with open alcohol and appeared to be drunk, police said.
When Lopez got out of the car, authorities reportedly saw a firearm between the seat and the door. It was eventually found to be fake.
Lopez was arrested on the spot, police said. The boy was released to his mother.
According to the statement, the man admitted to police that his nephew was driving him around because he feared being arrested for drunk driving. Police also discovered that Lopez had a warrant for being an unlicensed driver and that he had used methamphetamine earlier in the day while his nephew was in his care.
Police charged Lopez with felony child endangerment, the outstanding misdemeanor warrant, and for having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle, the statement said. The suspect was also reported to have previously been arrested for drunk driving in California.
Lopez was reportedly put in jail on a $50,000 bond.