BRADENTON, FL - A Sarasota man was arrested Sunday after allowing his 8-year-old son to drive his car on a major Bradenton road, resulting in a minor parking lot crash.
According to the Bradenton Police Department, at just after 10pm Sunday, 34-year-old Mark Andrew Belanger reported being "on Xanax and feeling woozy and didn't want to drive," and asked his son if he wanted to drive somewhere on Cortez Road, because he "wanted to have a bonding moment with his son," who is 8 years old.
According to reports from witnesses, the boy pulled into a parking lot in the 4600 block of Cortez Road West, nearly hit two pedestrians, and then crashed into two trees, damaging the car's radiator and breaking a window.
The boy told officers that his dad was taking "liquid medicine in order to feel better," and pointed to a bottle of whiskey. Belanger also fell down while talking to officers and suffered a cut on his nose when his face hit the pavement.
Belanger was arrested on a felony charge of Child Abuse Without Great Harm, and a misdemeanor charge of Permitting an Unlicensed Minor to Drive.
The boy was released to his mother's custody.