National AP News | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

Police: 9-year-old Again Drove for Drinking Dad

Orlando, FL (AP) - For the second time this month, authorities
have charged a father with allowing his 9-year-old child to be a
designated driver.

Nathan Walter Sikkenga, 31, of Gillette, Wy. told troopers with
the Florida Highway Patrol in Orlando on Saturday that he and his
wife "were under the influence of alcohol" and instructed their
son to drive the van, according to an arrest report released
Tuesday.

The van crashed into a security gate arm bar. An Orange County
Sheriff's deputy who witnessed the crash told responding troopers
that a child was behind the wheel and the father was sitting in the
front passenger seat, the report states.

Sikkenga was charged with felony child endangerment. No current
telephone listing could be found for Sikkenga and it wasn't
immediately known if he had an attorney. He was let out on bond and
had asked for his lawyer when police read him his Miranda rights.

On Oct. 8, police say a Detroit-area man had his 9-year-old
daughter drive him to the store because he had been drinking.
Surveillance video from a gas station shows him telling a clerk
that his daughter was his designated driver.

Brownstown Township, Mich., Detective Lt. Robert Grant said the
girl was sitting behind the wheel in a child's booster seat before
3 a.m., when an officer opened the driver's side door of the
full-sized panel van her father uses for work. He said she was
surprised when police pulled her over.

She said to the officer, "What did you stop me for? I was
driving good," Grant told the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit
News.

The girl told police that her father had been drinking whiskey
all night and that he had allowed her to drive before. Her parents
are separated.

The father, who told officers he was teaching his daughter to
drive, was arrested and refused a Breathalyzer test, Grant said. He
was charged with second- and fourth-degree child abuse during an
Oct. 10 arraignment.

He also was charged with being a habitual offender and could be
sentenced to up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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