Couple Uses 13-Year-Old as Designated Driver

Pair already had numerous DUI convictions

By Jessica Greene
|  Tuesday, Oct 6, 2009  |  Updated 9:52 PM EDT
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Stories about youngsters taking cars out for joyrides are not completely unheard of -- but most kids do it without their parents knowing about it.

Now there's a case in Northern California about a young teenager behind the wheel -- with permission. In fact, this boy was the designated driver.

A Marin County, Calif. couple wanted to avoid yet another DUI after their dinner date Sunday night, the Marin IJ reported, so they handed over the keys to their borrowed Land Rover to the responsible one in their party: a 13-year-old boy.

Rather than taking the risk of adding another charge of drunken driving to their already long list of DUI convictions, the 29-year-old man and 32-year-old woman asked the boy to get them home safely.

The boy drove to the middle of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Marin County, then hit the brakes. When police spotted the stalled vehicle and asked the driver what was going on, the jig was up.

"The story that he gave was that it freaked him out, " San Anselmo, Calif. police Sgt. Rob Schneider told the paper, "so he stopped and refused to drive anymore."

The boy, who is related to one of the two, was released to another member of the family.

The woman was charged with a misdemeanor count of child endangerment and a misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The man was not charged.

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