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Game-addled boy hits 8 cars on wild joyride

Apr 04,2019
A 10-year-old boy inspired by racing games stole his father’s car and went on a wild joyride in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi, on Saturday, colliding with eight vehicles, including two police cars, before he was stopped by authorities.

Hwaseong police received a report at around 12:05 p.m.

“A Grandeur committed a hit-and-run,” it said. “I think the driver is a kid.”

Police dispatched to the scene found a Hyundai Grandeur sedan run a red light. Ignoring orders from police, the car stopped only after it collided with two police cars.

When the officers approached the vehicle and opened the door, they found a 10-year-old at the wheel.

Earlier, he went to church with his mother and went back home alone. Without his father noticing, the boy snuck out of his home with keys to his father’s car and started the white sedan, which was parked in the apartment’s parking lot. He drove his father’s car for 30 minutes, covering 4 kilometers (2.49 miles), ignoring traffic lights and colliding with six cars before hitting the police cars.

Including the two police cars that stopped the sedan, a total of eight cars were damaged. Some of these cars were expensive foreign models, including a BMW.

“We are still calculating how much damage the kid caused,” said police. “At the time of the accident, there were no victims with serious injuries who needed to be transported to the hospital.

“I usually play a lot of racing games and watch a lot of videos,” the boy told police. “I wanted to drive a real car.”

According to the Criminal Law, people aged younger than 14 are minors and cannot be charged with a crime.

The owners of the cars damaged in the collisions will have to file a civil suit with the child’s parents to be compensated for their losses.

A number of similar incidents have occurred recently as grade school students have imitated what they see in games and videos.

A third-grader living in Dong District, Daejeon, took his mother’s car from an apartment complex parking lot and collided with 10 cars on July 2018.

In the same month, an 11-year-old got behind the wheel and collided with five cars on Jeju Island. Like the boy in Hwaseong, these children said that they learned how to drive from the internet and video games.

“Occasionally, there are cases where children drive cars out of curiosity after watching it on the internet or playing games,” said a police officer. “Families should take care of their car keys.”

BY JUNG MYUNG-SUK, CHOI MO-RAN [jung.myungsuk@joongang.co.kr]


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