CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) - A wild crash took out a fire hydrant, a street sign and a fence in Cheektowaga. Witnesses thought it was a drunk driver, but little did they know it was an 8-year-old boy behind the wheel.
A Cheektowaga mother woke up Monday morning to find her son and her car missing. News 4 spoke to the mother, and her little boy. Andrew Letts tells us he'd been planning this ride for some time and finally dared to pull it off.
"Well, I had to roll up on one leg to see right over. I put my foot on the gas, I turned it on, and it started moving all by itself," Letts said.
This was all before 6 a.m. The 8-year-old boy faced fast-moving rush hour traffic, road work, and even the possibility of driving on the NYS Thruway.
Laughing, Letts said, "I wanted to be just like my mom."
His mother, April Haynes, was in the shower.
"[I] got out, ran downstairs to Andrew's room, get him up, ready for school and he was gone. His room was trashed; I thought he'd been kidnapped," Haynes recalled.
She dialed 911 in a panic.
Haynes said, "I was running around screaming and crying, calling his name over and over again, running everywhere, screaming, 'Andrew, Andrew where are you?'"
Letts made it all the way to busy Bailey Avenue, about a half mile away from home, when he decided he'd had enough and wanted to turn back. But he had some trouble navigating these streets.
"When I was trying to come up, come into the street, I got really scared because I jumped the curb, and I'm like... (jumps)," he explained.
Cheektowaga Police Capt. Jim Speyer says Letts ran over a stop sign, hit a hydrant and crashed into a neighbor's yard.
"I don't think he fully understood the ramifications and the seriousness of taking that car for a ride," Capt. Speyer said.
He was seconds away from actually making it back to his Willowlawn Parkway home. Letts said he knows now how dangerous it was and that he shouldn't have taken his mom's car.
Charges will not be filed against Letts. Police say he's too young for that. His mom is very apologetic and will be putting alarms on the door to make sure it never happens again. His parents are also moving the car keys out of sight to keep Letts' impulse off his mind.
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