Dad allowed 5-year-old to drive car that crashed, Nashville police say
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV/Gray News) - A 5-year-old was driving a car that crashed on Charlotte Pike in Nashville on Saturday, according to an affidavit.
A witness told police he watched the car crash into a mailbox and then saw the driver grab his young son from the vehicle before running from the scene.
Police found the crashed car on the side of the road with multiple open bottles of alcohol left inside, according to court documents. Police looked up the license plate information and tracked it to a house about a half-mile down Charlotte Pike.
Authorities said law enforcement showed up at 53-year-old John Edwin Harris’ home where, they said, he was driving his wife’s car down the driveway.
Harris told officers he allowed his 5-year-old son to drive the car and that the child jerked the steering wheel, which caused the crash, according to an affidavit.
The car crashed into Sue Hows’ mailbox. She said her late husband installed the mailbox, made from metal and concrete, when they first moved to the house around 45 years ago. She said the father and son were lucky to survive the crash after seeing the damage to the mailbox.
“It’s very upsetting, especially when I find out a 5-year-old child was driving the car,” Hows said. “Where does the responsibility fall? On the man? If he was intoxicated, what in the world was he doing out with a 5-year-old child in the car?”
Hows wants Harris to pay for a new mailbox to be bought and installed at the end of her driveway. She couldn’t understand why a parent would put their child at risk behind the wheel of a car.
Harris admitted to drinking on Saturday morning, police said. He failed his field sobriety test, could barely stand and smelled of alcohol, according to the affidavit.
The child told officers he was not hurt, according to the affidavit, although investigators found a mark on the windshield that looked like it was from someone’s head.
Harris was charged with driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident. He has been released from jail on a $4,000 bond, according to court records.
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