An 8-year-old Ohio boy took his father’s van for a drive after getting a craving for a cheeseburger. The child, who had his 4-year-old sister riding with him during the journey, left his home in East Palestine on Sunday evening and drove to a nearby McDonald’s. The parents were reportedly asleep at the time of the incident.
As reported by the Weirton Daily Times, several people contacted the police department after witnessing a child driving a van through downtown. The boy had learned to drive the vehicle by watching YouTube videos and was said to be having no difficulty getting around.
Several witnesses to the incident said the boy obeyed all traffic laws during his trip including properly stopping at red lights and waiting for traffic to clear before making a left turn into the parking lot of the McDonald’s .
The boy continued by pulling up to the drive-through, ordering a cheeseburger, and proceeding to the window, intending to pay with money he had removed from his piggy bank.
As reported to East Palestine Patrolman Jacob Koehler, an officer responding to the calls, the employees at the McDonald’s restaurant initially thought the sight was a prank, and the parents must have been hiding in the backseat. However, the quickly realized that was not the case.
The boy’s 4-year-old sister was also in the van during the trip. Their parents had fallen asleep early after spending the day playing outside with their children.
Koehler considers the incident an important lesson to parents, stating, “With the way technology is anymore kids will learn how to do anything and everything.” He continued, “This kid learned how to drive on YouTube. He probably looked it up for five minutes and then said it was time to go.”
However, the officer did admit to being impressed by the boy’s driving skills. Koehler expected to arrive on the scene to see damage along the roadway, but that wasn’t the case. “He didn’t hit a thing on the way there,” he said, continuing “It was just unreal.”
The McDonald’s was approximately one and a half miles from the boy’s home. The child headed out the door, arriving at the drive-through a little after 8 p.m.
Koehler stated there was no evidence of neglect, as the boy and his sister had eaten three meals that day. The boy simply wanted a cheeseburger.
In the end, the boy and his sister did get their meals as they waited for their grandparents to arrive so they could be driven to the police station. In the end, no charges were filed, and the children were picked up by their parents.