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9-Year-Old Driver Slams Head on Into Semi After Swiping Keys to Parents' Car

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Early Wednesday morning, two sisters in West Jordan, Utah, got dressed, grabbed the car keys and headed out on a trip to California. They wanted to hit the beach, but they only made it about 10 miles before hitting something else.

The problems resulted from the fact that the ill-fated vacation attempt was carried out by a 9-year-old and a 4-year-old.

The girls decided to set out on their adventure around 3 a.m. with their parents’ vehicle but without their parents’ knowledge.

It wasn’t long after they were on the road, on Route 201 eastbound, that the 9-year-old driver sideswiped a pickup truck. The driver of the truck understandably assumed the offending driver was drunk, so he followed the car.

After they exited Route 201 in West Valley City, the 9-year-old crossed over a median into oncoming traffic and plowed into a semi-truck, having traveled around 10 miles.

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Miraculously, no one was injured. For all their wild ideas, both girls had made sure to fasten their seatbelts — a fact that ensured their joy ride ended in expensive damages instead of costing them their lives.

The driver of the pickup truck was surprised to find out the real reason behind the erratic driving.

“He discovered the driver of the other vehicle was not impaired but was in fact a 9-year-old female driving with her 4-year-old sister,” West Valley Police Lt. Bill Merritt said, according to KSL-TV.

The driver of the semi told police that it appeared that the driver was driving fast and did not try to brake when she hit the semi. The airbag on the driver’s side went off, but the passenger’s did not.

KSL-FM in Salt Lake City reported that the vehicles involved “were pretty munched,” and both of them had to be towed.

“Officers got quite a surprise when they responded to an accident this morning & discovered the driver was a 9yo girl,” the West Valley City Police Department tweeted. “The young girl & her 4yo sister apparently snagged the keys to the family car while their parents were sleeping & set out on their own summer adventure.”

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The parents said they had no idea what their daughters were up to until they got an unexpected wake-up call to inform them of the accident.

Police thought that maybe a recent discussion about a vacation to California might have spurred the road trip, but there’s no concrete evidence either way.

What was clear to West Jordan Police Detective Scott List, though, is that the girls had one goal in mind: to swim with dolphins.

“They talked about going to California to swim with dolphins and, and to go to the beach and, and they woke up at 3:00 in the morning,” he told KTVX-TV. “The parents were horrified and very shocked to find their kids were gone.”

“I guess they were intending to start their summer vacation a little early,” Roxeanne Vainuku, spokeswoman for the police department, added.

“Both of them came out of this accident absolutely fine, which is very fortunate, as you can imagine.”

Perhaps someday the girls will get to live out their dream of swimming with the dolphins, but hopefully under more parentally supervised conditions.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking