If you’re completely hammered and unable to properly function behind the wheel, they say you should have a designated driver get you where you need to go.

However, 28-year-old Billy Joe Madden of Hattiesburg, Mississippi got that concept totally wrong when he let his 8-year-old son take over the wheel of his truck and drive from Mississippi to Texas (with a 4-year-old in the backseat) because he was drunk as a skunk.

Troopers pulled the truck over early Saturday morning on an interstate in Louisiana after receiving a call from a “concerned motorist” who said that a child was at the wheel, and he was not doing a good job of staying inside the lines, like most kids around his age. (It’s not a problem when they do that with coloring books … but on the highway? That’s a no-no.)

“Troopers determined that the driver was an eight-year-old with his four-year-old sister in the rear seat and their father, Billy Joe Madden, 28, of Hattiesburg, Miss., in the passenger seat,” said a statement from the Louisiana State Police.

According to police, Billy Joe (sidebar: we love this guy’s name) was passed out drunk in the passenger’s seat of the truck while his son drove from Mississippi to Dallas, Texas. The man’s 4-year-old daughter was in the backseat, and both she and the boy were turned over to CPS to await the arrival of a much more stable family member.

Meanwhile, Papa Billy Joe was arrested and sent to prison on two counts of child desertion, parent allowing a minor to drive, open container, and two counts of no child restraint and no seat-belt, police say.

We hope he loses his license forever too … because anyone who thinks it’s okay to let a child drive on the highway from one state to another shouldn’t even have the privilege of breathing.

But hey, at least he didn’t let the 4-year-old do it, which shows at least a little bit of mental competence.


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