ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – 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.