RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A scary situation in Knightdale had a relatively happy ending on Thursday after police say a 9-year-old boy led them on a short chase after taking his sister’s car. While it was technically a police chase, police say it wasn’t what you would imagine.
“This was a pursuit by maybe definition, and that alone,” Chris Knox, with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, said.
While police say it wasn’t a typical pursuit, it was still a scary situation.
“I got a phone call that my 9-year-old autistic son had taken my daughter’s car,” said the boy’s mother, who did not want her name used.
The boy took off in the car from his home before family and caretakers called 911, telling them the child’s age and that he was special needs. Police say with that information, they handled this pursuit much differently than most, with the goal of just keeping the child, and other drivers, safe.
“Inherently we know it’s a dangerous situation,” Knox said. “Because a 9-year-old doesn’t have the training, the know-how to operate a vehicle.”
After about a minute and a half of the pursuit, police were able to block the car off in a grassy area before making sure the boy was safe.
“They were able to get access to him, immediately get him out, console him, just hug him and just let him know it’s okay,” Knox said.
The boy’s mom says other parents, especially those of autistic children, should use this as a lesson to take extra steps to keep them safe.
“Keys are another thing we need to be aware of,” she said. “He could’ve killed someone driving that car, he could’ve killed himself, and that’s a lot to think about.”
We’re told at the time the boy left his home, he was there with his therapist, but his mom says she’s not sure what led to him taking the car and leaving. He was treated at a local hospital for minor injuries before police said he would be released to his family.