July 23, 2014
BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) - 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.