39-year-old Shawn Weimer needed to make a quick run to a gas station at 3 a.m. last week, but he knew he was way too drunk to drive.
So like any responsible American citizen, he enlisted the help of a designated driver to help him complete his journey safely and legally.
Unfortunately, there was nothing safe or legal about Weimer’s decision to use his 9-year-old daughter, who used a booster seat to see and steer, as his designated driver.
Weimer was arrested last week after someone who spotted the pair at the gas station called 911, saying that they had seen a girl get in the driver’s seat and pull the vehicle out onto the road.
A couple of miles down, a cop pulled her over and she said to the officer, “What did you stop me for? I was driving good.”
“I just watched a van pull out of a Citgo gas station, a seven-year-old girl is driving it, and her dad is drunk and he’s in the passenger seat,” the good Samaritan says on the 911 call. “She’s driving pretty good, I’m telling ya. I can’t believe it!”
The Associated Press obtained video footage showing the van pulling up to the gas station and the drunk dad walking in with his daughter, who he bragged to the clerk about being his designated driver.
“I got a designated driver,” he said. The little girl admitted to police that her father had been drinking all night, and told them that he had allowed her to drive before.
“Then he was argumentative with us, that it was his right to teach his daughter how to drive,” local police detective Lt. Robert Grant said, adding, “Very sweet, intelligent little girl.”
Weimer refused a Breathalyzer test, and was arrested on the spot. He told officers he was teaching his daughter how to drive.
The impaired father was charged with 2nd and 4th degree child abuse and was ordered to have no contact with his daughter during an October 10th arraignment. (At least he didn’t get charged with a DUI!)
He was also charged with being a habitual offender, stemming from convictions on four previous unrelated felonies, including receiving and concealing stolen property and unarmed robbery. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.
Weimer’s 9-year-old daughter was turned over to her maternal grandfather due to police not being able to reach her mother, who is separated from her father at the moment.
This isn’t Weimer’s first run-in with the law when it comes to his drunkenness. In 2007, he was convicted of driving while intoxicated in connection with a car crash in another area of Michigan, and his license was restricted for year. (This is probably when he started teaching his then 5-year-old daughter how to drive him around!)
Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time a drunk dad has used his single-digit-aged child as a designated driver. We’re noticing a pattern here.