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‘You can’t make this up': 9-year-old crashes into CHP cruiser while attempting to drive himself to school

The boy had stopped the car “oddly” in the middle of an intersection when an officer ordered him to move; he sped off, leading the officer on a short pursuit into a parking lot

By Amy Graff
SFGate, San Francisco

OROVILLE, Calif. — A Northern California 9-year-old trying to drive himself to school smashed into a CHP car and led officers on a chase Wednesday, officials said.

“A scene straight out of a movie” is what the the California Highway Patrol’s unit in Oroville called the situation.

CHP said one of its patrol officers encountered the boy behind the wheel of a gray Volkswagen sedan “stopped oddly” in the middle of an intersection at Grand Avenue and 4th Street in the town that’s about 65 miles north of Sacramento. When the Volkswagen was first spotted, CHP did not know that the driver was so young.

“When instructed to move, the vehicle unexpectedly sped off, leading to a short and erratic chase that ended in a dirt parking lot just east of Plumas Avenue Elementary School ,” CHP said in a news release posted on Facebook.

In the parking lot, the boy put the car in reverse, slamming into the CHP vehicle. At this point, CHP said it learned the driver was a 9-year-old “who had taken his mother’s car with the intention of driving himself to school.”

CHP officer Terry Dunn told KCBS-AM it was “one of those [situations where] no one really believed it, turned out to be a 9-year-old child sticking his head out, saying, ‘I’m trying to get to school.’”

There were no injuries reported; the CHP vehicle and the mother’s car had “minor damage,” CHP said. The child was sent to school.

“This incident underscores the critical need for all drivers to be licensed, educated, and aware of the risks of the road,” the agency said. “It also serves as a wake-up call to secure our vehicles and educate our children on the dangers of unauthorized driving.”


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