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Body cam video shows aftermath of crash involving 9-year-old driver

Posted at 7:10 AM, Jun 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-02 21:15:26-04

WEST VALLEY CITY — Two young children were involved in a head-on crash involving a semi truck Wednesday morning.

Lt. Sean McCarthy with West Valley City Police says the driver was a 9-year-old girl and her 4-year-old sister was a passenger. The girls said they were headed to California because they wanted to "swim in the ocean."

Body cam shows children in car after accident

“There’s no history of this… this is a motivated kid who from what I understand wanted to go swim with dolphins in the ocean” Detective Scott List with the West Jordan Police Department said. “To do what she did is impressive…scary but impressive.”

Officers were able to put together that the pair had left home around 3 a.m. heading for the car, it took them about an hour and a half to figure out the basics of driving before heading out on the open road.

“About 4:30 is about the time that they figured out how to drive the car and left the driveway” List estimated.

A little after 5 a.m., the children drove down the off-ramp east off of State Road 201 onto 3200 West and right into the path of a big rig that was attempting to get on the freeway.

“The semi-truck driver reported that there were two kids in the car and they appear very young,” McCarthy said. “Officers got here and discovered it was a 9-year-old driver and her 4-year-old sister.”

After the collision, the semi driver got out to check on the condition of those in the vehicle that struck him, and initially he told police he couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw who was actually driving.

The girls had made it about 10 miles from their home in West Jordan before the accident occurred.

Even after the accident, the girls' parents had no idea their children had even left the home. Police went to the family's house and woke up the parents to let them know what had happened.

“They were shocked…” List said, “they had no idea.”

Neither of the girls was seriously hurt.

“They told the officers they were headed to California, wanted to enjoy the beach for a few days,” McCarthy said. “I don’t know that we’ll tell them they were going the wrong way.”