9-Year-Old Boy Crashes Mini Van, Drunk Dad Arrested for Making Him the Designated Driver

Florida has a knack of bringing out the best in people.

Take the Sikkenga family from Gillete, Wyoming. In all-American fashion, 31-year-old Nathan Sikkenga had driven his wife and 9-year-old son cross-country to see Disney World.

But the 'rents were on vacation too. And when they got sloshed, they handed the minivan keys to their kid -- who promptly crashed.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the prepubescent designated driver crashed into a security gate just before midnight on Saturday.

An Orange County Sheriff's deputy saw the minor's mishap and arrested his dad. The elder Sikkenga was charged with third-degree child endangerment, a felony.

It's not the first time parents have dumped unwanted responsibility on their kids here in Florida. In March, a Port St. Lucie woman was charged with child abuse after making her 10-year-old daughter the DD. The girl hit three cars and a house.

And in July, Apollo Beach resident Donald Leet was similarly charged after drinking wine and deciding to give his girlfriend's 11-year-old daughter "driving lessons."

"You are going to make me lose my job," Leet told deputies as they arrested him. "Why don't you arrest a rapist or murderer instead of me. You're an illiterate Southerner. You don't know anything. You only have a high school diploma. You're dumb."

To be fair, it's not just a Florida problem.

Earlier this month, cops pulled over a wood-paneled van in Detroit. When Detective Lt. Robert Grant looked inside the car, he found a 9-year-old girl sitting on top of child's booster seat. Her whiskey-breathed father was in the back.

"What did you stop me for?" the girl asked. "I was driving good."

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Michael E. Miller was a staff writer at Miami New Times for five years. His work for New Times won many national awards, including back-to-back-to-back Sigma Delta Chi medallions. He now covers local enterprise for the Washington Post.