Uncle arrested after police pull over 11-year-old ‘designated driver’

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PORT HUENEME, CA (KCOY/KEYT/CNN) – The uncle of an 11-year-old in California was arrested after allegedly making the boy his designated driver to avoid another DUI charge.

Police say they pulled over a car Sunday afternoon when they noticed the driver violated several traffic laws. They discovered the driver was an 11-year-old boy, who could barely see over the steering wheel.

The boy initially told police his 29-year-old uncle, Genoro Lopez, who was also in the car, was teaching him to drive. But he later told officers Lopez was too drunk to drive.

Lopez admitted to letting the boy drive because he didn’t want to be arrested for drunken driving, police say. He had a prior DUI charge from May.

“To be 11 years old and driving your drunk uncle home, that’s pretty bad,” Sgt. Chris Graham said. “But the worst part is the felony endangerment. He could have killed his nephew.”

Police say they found open beer containers in the car, and they saw a gun inside, which turned out to be a replica.

Lopez appeared to be high on methamphetamine, according to the officers, and it was later discovered he had used the drug several hours before the traffic stop while caring for his nephew.

The 11-year-old was returned to his mother’s custody while Lopez was arrested and taken to jail. He faces child endangerment charges.

Copyright 2017 KCOY, KEYT, Port Hueneme Police Department via CNN. All rights reserved.

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