An intoxicated man wanted to go around for a drive, except that maybe because he was drunk he couldn’t do it himself. So he asked someone else to drive for him- except that he asked the wrong person to do the driving for him. The New Castle man forced an innocent 8-year-old girl to drive him around.
A criminal complaint says Michael Cook, 24, forced the little child into the vehicle and ordered her to start driving to East Palestine, Ohio. Their “joyride” was interrupted when they were stopped by two bystanders.
The police got a call about a “reckless driver” on Little Beaver Road around 7:30 p.m. on September 3 informing the dispatchers that there was a small child driving a vehicle.
When questioned by the officers, the 8-year-old kid said they left her grandmother’s residence on Old Enon Unity Road to try to go to the direction of the state lines. The vehicle almost crashed two times until it was stopped on Little Beaver Road at Constitution Boulevard.
A man who was driving another vehicle got out of his car to yell at the girl and Cook. It was also around that same time that two bystanders realized it was the little girl who was driving the reckless vehicle and called 911 to report the strange and dangerous incident.
The child admitted to the police that after the incident with the angry driver, Cook instructed her to switch seats with him so he could be at the driver’s post before the authorities arrive.
Police officers who responded to the call said they tried to give Cook a sobriety test but he could not even finish it because he was so drunk. He even almost fell to the ground if not for the quick arms of an officer who caught him.
Darlington Township Police Chief Al Filauri said the 8-year-old girl is not related to Cook. He is just a family friend.
Cook is facing charges of endangering the welfare of a child, driving under the influence, and driving without a license.
It is not clear whether authorities gave a child-friendly counseling to the girl to neutralize the possible effects of the potentially traumatic “reckless drive.” It is also not clear how her family reacted to what happened, and the danger their little girl faced in the company of a drunk man on the road.