Mich. dad who let 9-year-old drive gets probation

A Detroit-area man who allowed his 9-year-old daughter to drive him around because he had been drinking was sentenced to two years of probation Thursday.

Shawn Weimer pleaded guilty in December to second-degree child abuse and allowing an unlicensed minor to operate a motor vehicle.

Weimer was arrested Oct. 8 when police pulled over his van and found the girl behind the wheel. Surveillance video from a Brownstown Township gas station shows the 39-year-old bragging about his daughter's driving skills. The girl is now 10 years old.

"Take care of your child," Judge Margie R. Braxton told him during sentencing at Wayne County Court. She ordered him to pay court costs and fees.

Weimer said he made a mistake in asking his daughter to drive that morning, but that he had been thinking about how he used to drive at his family's farm and junkyard when he was her age.

"It's just something that I experienced when I was a kid that I shared with my daughter," Weimer told the Detroit Free Press for a story in December.

Weimer said his daughter had been driving the van along a private road for about 45 minutes before they set off for the gas station. He said it was the first time she had driven the van.

The girl testified in November that her father had consumed half a bottle of whiskey that night and that she had agreed to drive but felt a "little scared."

Weimer told the newspaper that he had been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.