Beebe and O'Neil

2-year-old left in car shifts into drive, causes car accident

Mischievous teenagers too young to have a driver’s license have been known take a car for a joyride, usually without the permission of an adult.  But when a child, so young that she cannot reach the floorboard to brake or accelerate, shifts a car into drive when left alone in the vehicle, all parties involved are lucky if major damages, serious injuries and even death are avoided. Recently, a Connecticut man left his 2-year-old daughter alone in a running car.

The father of the child left her in the car to work on a vehicle with his brother. Although the car was close by, it was not close enough for the father to supervise his daughter’s actions in the car. Once the 2-year-old put the car into drive, it hit two other vehicles. While it caused only minor damage, the incident could have resulted in major property damage to nearby vehicles or structures or, even worse, serious injury to the child or others, or even death.

The father was arrested and charged with risk of injury.  Fortunately, it was only a risk.  The consequences could have been much more serious. When leaving a child alone in a vehicle, especially when leaving it running, numerous negative consequences may follow. If property is seriously damaged or other people are injured, the parent could face liability in a civil suit and be forced to compensate victims for the damages incurred.  And, as has happened in this case, the parent can be arrested and face criminal charges.  

Source:, “Connecticut man arrested after daughter, 2, causes car accident,” March 2, 2014

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