Dad lets 8-year-old son drive van

February 12, 2009 4:22:04 AM PST
Police in southwest Florida arrested a man they say let his 8-year-old son drive a van.

Police in Bradenton arrested 34-year-old Mark A. Belanger just before midnight Sunday on charges of child abuse and permitting an unlicensed driver to drive.

A police report says the boy hit two trees and nearly hit two people in a parking lot. Belanger told police he'd taken Xanax, used to treat anxiety and panic attacks, and was "feeling woozy and didn't want to drive." He said he thought letting his son drive would be a "bonding moment."

The boy told police his father took "liquid medicine" to feel better, pointing to an empty whiskey bottle in the vehicle. Belanger remained in jail Wednesday on a $10,120 bond. Jail records did not show if he has an attorney.

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