The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) were confronted by an extremely rare and bizarre incident over the weekend. On Saturday night just after 11:00 P.M., an 11-year-old driver was pulled over after the boy had been playing Grand Theft Auto and decided to borrow his parents’ car to see what real driving was like. The young driver traveled northbound on Hwy. 400, in Mississauga, before reaching King Road, where he got off and entered the highway’s southbound lanes. The car was going well over the speed limit and swerving between lines.
“This is completely unacceptable,” OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said in a Periscope video Sunday afternoon. “Drivers called it in thinking it was probably an impaired driver, because the vehicle was all over the highway. It could have resulted in a fatality.”
“What happened is the vehicle was first going under the speed limit, about half the speed limit. Then (he) switches over to the other lanes, continues to travel accelerating to well over the speed limit, 120 or more kilometers per hour. The vehicle then stopped and as the officer tried to get out and talk to this driver, find out what was going on… the vehicle took off again,” he said.
Schmidt said that officers were “able to get in front of this vehicle and get beside it and try to stop it.” Following an unsuccessful attempt to stop the vehicle, more units got involved and eventually, an officer was able to pull it over, making the shocking discovery that it was an 11-year-old boy who had “just finished playing Grand Theft Auto at home and wanted to find out what it was like to drive a car.”
Grand Theft Auto is a series of popular and violent video game in which players climb through the ranks of the criminal underworld through murder, car theft and high-speed driving.
Schmidt added it was “just an absolute tragedy waiting to happen,” saying he has “never heard” of a driver this young getting behind the wheel on a highway.
The young boy was returned to his parents a short time after the stop, and no charges have been laid. The boy took the vehicle without the family’s knowledge — they were in bed already. “He is only eleven years old. We’re leaving it up to the parents to determine what an appropriate punishment would be.”
“GTA is not the way to learn how to drive,” said Schmidt in the video. “Even if you think you’re a good driver by playing GTA, it is not a good idea,” he said, concluding that 11-year-old drivers are not welcome on the highway.
-Loredana Del Bello, Assistant News Editor