Boy drives his mom's van into a tree

LAUREL, Md. - Tire tracks lead to glass by a tree where a van driven by a 9-year-old boy ended up in Laurel. 

"The family car was not in the driveway.  It was over by some trees across the road," said Anne Marie Miller, a neighbor.    

Miller watched police and fire rush out to her Laurel neighborhood on Madison Avenue.  Kids were getting on the school bus after 8 a.m. Thursday, while a boy was behind the wheel of his mother's van.

Police say the boy was able to shift gears and back out of the driveway, hitting the tree across the street.  Miller says the van was new to the family.

"She was excited about getting it because she said she would have her own transportation," said Miller.    

We don't know how the boy ended up with his mom's keys, but he's not alone.  Terri Taylor, the coordinator of Safe Kids Howard County, says incidents like this are not uncommon.  Kids are getting ahold of the car keys everyday across the county.

“Parents need to secure their car keys some place where the kids don't know where they are or where they're secure and the kids can't get to them," said Taylor.   

Taylor says parents often give their children access to the car when they're not around, putting them in the driver's seat instead of the backseat.

"The kids need to stay in the back; the keys need to stay with the parents.  And if the kids need something out of the car that they left, it needs to be the parents that go out and get it," said Taylor.    

The 9-year-old was not injured, but he was taken to the hospital for a checkup. 

"You never know what a child is thinking, so you just have to make sure everyone is safe and know where they're at," said Miller.    

We heard from AAA Mid-Atlantic following the incident.  A spokeswoman reminds parents not to leave keys in a parked car.  Never leave kids in a vehicle with the engine running.  And never give the keys to a child to warm up the car.


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