BALSAM LAKE, Wis. (WCCO) — Deputies in western Wisconsin say they found a 9-year-old girl driving a pickup truck while her mother, and the mother’s boyfriend, sat next to her intoxicated.
It happened last Sunday, in a rural area of Polk County, just south of Balsam Lake.
Cpt. Stephen Smith, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s department, said it’s a miracle no one got hurt, especially considering there was also a toddler in the truck.
He said deputies responded to the incident after other drivers reported seeing the truck swerving along a rural road near Amery.
Deputies then found the truck at a boat launch along the Apple River. It was in drive and rolling backwards toward the ice.
“At which time the deputy was able to jump in the vehicle and place it in park and secure the vehicle,” Smith said.
Deputies stopped at Amery Hospital before taking the adults – identified as 36-year-old Jason Roth and 32-year-old Amanda Eggert — to jail.
It was there that deputies say that the children’s mother continued to swear, as well as swing and kick at them.
“The female had a significant laceration that she just didn’t seem to even care about,” Smith said. “[She was] quite intoxicated.”
Criminal complaints describe the cut as splitting “all the way through the webbing of the thumb and finger.” She told authorities she got it while snowmobiling.
Investigators say when they questioned Eggert and Roth, they offered an explanation of why the 9-year-old was behind the wheel. They said she was practicing her driving.
“[Children] used to in the 1950s,” Eggert reportedly told authorities.
Eggert and Roth now face felony charges for recklessly endangering safety and child neglect.
The police report states they were each well over twice the legal limit for alcohol consumption. They do not face DWI charges.
The 9-year-old girl and her baby sibling have been placed with other family members.