• Jan 9, 2009
Click above to jump to the video

"How many times have I told you to stop playing those video games and go to school?" For any kid addicted to his xBox or PlayStation 3, that's bound to sound familiar. The clever (or fortunate) ones will manage to keep the fun rolling with a PSP or Nintendo DS, but at least one child has taken things a step further.

When the six-year-old son of David Eugene Dodson and Jacqulyn Deana Waltman of Wicomico Church, Virginia, missed the bus to school in the morning, he grabbed the keys to the family's Ford Taurus and drove himself. Well, almost. The young driver made it surprisingly far, over a bridge and around a few corners, until he crashed the Taurus into an electrical piling...and then proceeded on foot, determined to make it to school.

The child is now in protective custody together with his four-year-old brother while his parents face child endangerment charges. When asked by state troopers how he learned to drive, he freely told the officials that he honed his chops in front of the television, playing video games like Grand Theft Auto and Monster Truck Jam. Who said video games were a waste of time? Follow the jump to view the AP television news report.

[Source: The Seattle Times]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      There must be more to the story than just "kid grabbed car keys when parents weren't looking and took car". I imagine most people with kids don't consider the car keys a lethal weapon and though they may not leave them lying around, they don't put them under lock and key either.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm 22, and I don't play that video game, if any game is wrong and immoral, that one is. Used to play it when I was younger (not 6 haha) but then I got a conscience.

      Anyway, to go back to the most important part of this story, the parents. It's really unfortunate that they are being charged, they do deserve some sort of reprimand, but I think they'll get more then they deserve.

      When I was younger, I think about 3 or 4 I got myself out of the house, I was quite the escape artist my parents tell me. Learned to unbolt the door, open it and roam the streets in my diaper. My parents did everything they could, but sometimes you just can't keep an eye on a child that size when you've got one even younger (I had a younger sister at the time) and 3 older who are trying to kill each other. Anyway, I was infatuated with cars at a young age, I had always wanted one of those power wheels, but my parents couldn't afford it. So at a young age I resorted to crime (I didn't know any better) and found my way up the street and into the back yard of a distant neighbors and stole there power wheel. Someone saw me driving up and down the sidewalks and called the cops. They showed up, and were directed to my house by some neighbors. My dad was almost charged with child endangerment and arrested simply because I was a rambunctious and sneaky child. I have no recollection of this story, but I do remember another instance (age 4) when my siblings all went to the park and left me, I wanted badly to go with them so I let myself out of the house and went to the park, it was a few blocks away. I made it to the park and couldn't see my siblings anywhere so I decided to go home. I got lost on the way back, an MP (this was on Fort Leavenworth) saw me and must have recognized me, he pulled over and put me in his cop car and took me home. I remember getting a spanking for that one and spending the rest of the evening in my bedroom.

      Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that the parents aren't that bad. Oh they definitely shouldn't have let there kid play such an adult video game (who knows, maybe it was the dads game and the kid watched). But no one keeps there keys locked up, most people set them on the counter somewhere or on a hook by the garage. Parents cannot and I repeat cannot always have an eye on there small children, kids are naturally very sneaky. It's unfortunate that kids can get there parents into so much trouble.
      • 6 Years Ago
      According to the local news the kid wanted to get to school because he was hungry and the only way he was going to get breakfast was the school program. Apparently his lazy-assed parents didn't want to get their asses out of bed to feed the kid!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Who let him play GTA? The same parents that buy their kids Call of Duty 4...man those little kids on the multiplayer are so freakin' annoying....good, but annoying.
      • 6 Years Ago
      That just goes to show you. Violent video games like Monster Truck Jam promote illegal behavior in children.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Stupid parents, for letting a 6 year old play a game like GTA.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm actually surprised by the child's solid determination to go to school.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If that kid had played Forza, he would have easily made it. He would have pulled the E-brake into the Parallel parking spot, and on that bridge, he would have topped it out. I'm sure he would have apexed the turns properly as well. He hit the pole sideways, so I'm sure he was into it. He got a Front wheel drive car to Oversteer, The kid's got skill.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's days like this that I'm happy that Jack Thompson has been disbarred.

      At least they're pointing blame where it belongs... the parents.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Amen.

        It's scary to see how some of my friends see driving as a right and a sort of "game". And it's a striking contrast to other friends who, while yes, inexperienced (which is remedied by experience), understand the responsibility that comes with getting behind the wheel.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So the parents sleep while their 6 year old gets himself off to school?
      They let him play GTA?

      I'm guessing this is one of those cases where the parents use tv and video games as a baby sitter.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Finally a set of parents being punished for being idiots. Videogames may have given him the idea, but his sleeping parents left the keys out. Go virginia.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Proud? You're joking, right?

      Look at it this way. The parents allowed the kid to have access to a deadly weapon. It's only luck he didn't kill a person or himself. In that sense it's a good thing the parents were charged. And not to make this about video games, but what kind of parent lets his/her six year old play GTA? Because soliciting hookers, profanity and killing people should be a major part of every first grader's experience.

      The bottom line, based on evidence as presented in the media (so of course it's somewhat suspect): Bad, inattentive parents.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah right, who the heck locks up their car keys in a safe like a gun? Kids and teenagers OFTEN sneak the keys and go for a joy ride, you just don't hear about it unless they're really young AND get caught by the cops (i.e. "newsworthy").

        It's one thing to say they are bad parents, but no parents have true control of their kids' actions, it's only an illusion on both sides (some parents think they have "well behaved kids" and some kids worry more about punishment than others so they have a glass ceiling)... GTA? Who knows, maybe he played at a friends house? Either way this kid needs to be taught a lesson, like running over his video game console saying "I learned this playing GTA!"
        • 6 Years Ago
        No way, I want to BE Steve Wilkos! :D
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Yeah, well... Guess I'll be a cooler parent than you. :P"

        See you on Steve Wilkos. I'm sure he'll be screaming at you "GET OFF MY STAGE!!!"
    • Load More Comments