The kids taking the car is on the list of most parent’s worst nightmares — something Edmonton father Merii Al dourzi experienced on Monday.
Al dourzi said while he was sleeping, his young son took the keys to the family’s silver minivan at their home in north Edmonton.
The seven-year-old drove the vehicle a short distance down the street before hitting another car and a tree in the park, then rolled the van in a playground in the Caernarvon neighbourhood, according to police.
Police, firefighters and EMS responded shortly after noon Monday to the park near 148 Avenue and 115 Street.
Edmonton Fire Rescue Services said crews arrived on scene at 12:21 p.m. to a vehicle rolled over in a playground, with no one inside it.
The damaged grey vehicle was found resting on its side, next to an uprooted tree in the park.
Police tracked down the owners of the vehicle, and officials said after the van crashed, the boy walked home to tell his parents what had happened.
Al dourzi said his son was ok, but was taken to the hospital as a precaution with some small scrapes. Officials said no one else was injured.
The father said it’s a lesson for parents to teach their kids about vehicle safety and the seriousness of getting behind the wheel – something neighbour Ray Stahr echoed.
“I always, when I come home, I put my keys on the kitchen counter without any thought of it at all,” he said, noting his son loves vehicles.
“It’s scary. And that makes me want to make sure I educate my kids,” Stahr said. “My car is a push button start – you don’t even have to have the key in the ignition.”
Stahr said he was out travelling the neighbourhood on his scooter when he saw the crash scene from the corner of his eye.
“My heart sank and I raced over here. It just blew my mind that that could ever happen,” he said of the rollover.
Stahr said it was remarkable no one was hurt because there are many families with small kids in the area, including the home right next to the park.
“I’m glad there’s trees surrounding the park, because the tree looks like (it) stopped it from careening into a park.”
That said, Stahr pointed out it’s a small park with only a few pieces of playground equipment that aren’t a huge draw for most kids.
“It’s kind of quick to get bored. So that’s probably a blessing in disguise that it’s not a fun park, because then there definitely would have been kids here.”
The van was towed away later Monday afternoon.