Police: Dad Let 8-Year-Old Drive

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) - Police have arrested a Sarasota man they
say let his 8-year-old son drive a van.

Police arrested 34-year-old Mark A. Belanger just before
midnight Sunday on charges of child abuse and permitting an
unlicensed driver to drive.

A Bradenton police report says the boy hit a two trees and
nearly hit two pedestrians in a parking lot when his father let him
drive. Belanger told police that he had taken Xanax, used to treat
anxiety and panic attacks, and was "feeling woozy and didn't want
to drive." He said he that he thought letting his son drive would
be a "bonding moment."

The boy told police his father took "liquid medicine in order
to feel better," pointing to an empty whiskey bottle in the
vehicle. Belanger remained in jail Wednesday on a $10,120 bond.


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