STILLWATER, Minn. — The 10-year-old Stillwater boy who took his family’s 2016 Chrysler minivan out for a drive on Sunday night, April 4, told police he was headed to the store to buy Cheerios for breakfast.
A police officer spotted the young driver behind the wheel around 9:30 p.m. Sunday near Second Street North and Mulberry Street, Police Chief Brian Mueller said.
The officer turned the squad car around and activated its emergency lights and siren, “and the kid took off,” Mueller said.
The officer immediately stopped the pursuit “out of concern for the boy’s safety,” but continued to follow him through the city’s North Hill neighborhood without the squad car’s emergency lights or siren activated, Mueller said.
At one point, the boy is believed to have been driving more than 50 miles an hour as he went north on Third Street North. The boy eventually turned east on School Street, “disappeared out of view and then drove back westbound through the intersection in reverse,” Mueller said.
The boy ended up reversing into an embankment in the yard of a house in the 600 block of Third Street North, “narrowly missing a large tree and several other large objects in the process,” Mueller said. The officer parked his squad car in front of the minivan to block it from moving forward, he said.
The boy’s parents told police they were sleeping and “had no idea that their son had left their residence, much less taken their vehicle,” he said. They also reported that the minivan had damage on its passenger side “that wasn’t there when they went to bed,” he said.
The boy told police he was headed to either Target or the River Market Community Co-op in downtown Stillwater.
This is the second time in a week that a 10-year-old in the metro area has absconded with a family vehicle.
A 10-year-old Fridley girl last week took her family’s SUV on a trip around the Twin Cities metro following a search on the Internet on how to drive, according to police. The girl was found unharmed, but the SUV had some scratches and dings, police said.