9-Year-Old Boy Tries to Drive Himself to School With Mother's Car, Crashes Into Police Officer

A Northern California child gave his family the most terrifying 15 minutes of their lives on Wednesday when he disappeared with a set of car keys.

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Kids say and do the darndest things, don’t they?

A 9-year-old boy from Oroville, California gave his family the scare of a lifetime when he attempted to drive himself to his elementary school.

The child’s grandmother told CBS13 that the family’s Wednesday morning was full of “pure panic.” The child’s mother was in the bathroom while he was in the living room playing a game on a phone. Before they knew it, the family realized he disappeared along with the car keys and the mother called 911 “hysterically.”

California Highway Patrol Oroville Officer Terry Dunn spotted the car, initially stopped in the middle of the road about a mile from the house. Dunn noticed that something stood out about the car and followed it into a dirt parking lot just east of Plumas Avenue Elementary School. At that moment, the boy’s car slowly backed into Dunn’s patrol vehicle as if it was in reverse and not parked.

"Startled, I didn't know at that point what's going to happen," Dunn told CBS13, describing the situation as “a scene straight out of a movie.”

The 9-year-old, who was described as 3-foot-11 with blonde hair and big blue eyes, leaned his head out of the window and reportedly said, “Sorry! I’m just trying to get to school.”

Dunn then called the boy’s mother to let her know the child was safe.

"By the grace of God, [Officer Dunn] came up to the intersection, saw my grandson in the middle of the intersection," said the boy's grandmother, who said the family experienced a “terrifying” 15 minutes believing that he may have been abducted among other worst case scenarios.

CBS13 reports that the family is not taking the incident lightly and that the boy has apologized profusely.

The boy’s grandmother said he was “impatient” and that apparently he saw a woman selling strawberries on the side of the road during his drive. He allegedly called out to the woman to say “Hi, I’m allergic to strawberries or I’d buy some.”

CHP Oroville encouraged using this incident as a starting point for discussions about safety and responsibility on their Facebook page, writing, “Let's use this unusual event as a catalyst for conversations about safety, responsibility, and the importance of adhering to our community's driving laws.”

No injuries were reported during the incident. CBS13’s report did not specify if any charges or fines are pending.

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