About 7 years ago on Superbowl Sunday, I had gone up to Rosemond to help my brother with a project. I left his place for home about 4PM. I had gotten on the 14 Freeway heading south. When I passed Ave N in Lancaster, I noticed some dust on the side of the road ahead. Slowing down, I noticed it was a 4 wheel off-road vehicle called a Honda Odyssey.
At the controls was a young boy. I pulled up next to him and asked him if he could stop for me. He just said “OK”. I pulled up behind him and went up to him and asked how old he was. He said “I’m five years old”. I pulled the key out and told him to stay right there.
I got on my cell phone and called 911. I told the operator that I had a 5 year old boy driving an off-road vehicle on the shoulder of the 14 Freeway at Ave M. I don’t think she believed me so she asked me to repeat what I just said. She told me to keep him there; the CHP will be there shortly. Within 5 minutes, the CHP, an ambulance, and a fire truck showed up.
While I was waiting for emergency services to arrive, I started talking to the kid asking him where he lived, and did his mom and dad know where he was. All he said was “I don’t know”. He told me that he asked his dad to take him for a ride in the vehicle, but he was too busy. He said that he had driven this vehicle several times on his dad’s lap, so he knew how to start it and drive it.
When the CHP arrived, I told him what the kid said and he got the registration number off the off-road sticker. He went back to his car and called in to check the owner information. He told me later that the parents were home watching the Superbowl game and that they were unaware that their son had even left. They lived near AVE A.
The kid had driven 17 miles on the shoulder of the freeway…and what surprised both me and the CHP officer…no one driving past this kid for at least 45 minutes, reported anything!
The parents were both immediately arrested and charged with child endangerment. The kid was put into a foster home, pending trial.
Three months later, I got a letter of commendation from the CHP for probably saving that boy’s life.