A 10-year-old boy and his 11-year-old sister were pulled over by police after they attempted to drive from Florida all the way to California in their mom’s car.
The children decided to run away from home because their mother confiscated their electronic devices, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a statement.
Police were able to stop the kids before they left the state, but the pair still managed to drive a considerable distance: 320 kilometres. The kids took off from their mom’s home in North Port, a city in southwest Florida, and were eventually stopped near Gainesville in north Florida.
Deputies with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office noticed the car on Interstate 75 at around 3:50 a.m. on Thursday because it had been reported stolen.
Thinking they were dealing with car thieves, the deputies drew their guns and ordered the vehicle’s occupants to exit with their hands up. Photos posted by police on Facebook show the childrens’ faces blurred as they stand beside the car, arms raised.
“Much to their surprise, deputies observed a 10-year-old male driver exit the vehicle along with his 11-year-old sister,” the department wrote.
It’s unclear how long the children were on the lam for, but they had been reported missing for at least four hours by the time they were found.
Police spoke to the children and “those conversations did not lead to any belief that the children were mistreated by their parent or any other person within the home,” the department said.
“It was learned that both children were upset with their mother because she took away their electronic devices, which is believed to have been done because they were not using them appropriately.”
Their mother was called and she drove up to Alachua County to pick them up, police said.
“Our Detectives did speak with their mother at length, who was clearly doing her best to raise two young children and she was very receptive to the recommendations they provided in helping her get assistance.”
The kids aren’t facing any criminal charges for stealing the car because their mom declined to press charges. The only other charge applicable for this case would be driving without a valid licence, police wrote, but that is a misdemeanour traffic violation and wouldn’t result in juvenile detention.
The names of the mother and children were not released.