Drunk dad who let 9-year-old drive gets probation
Judge tells Shawn Weimer to 'take care of your child'
A Detroit-area man who allowed his 9-year-old daughter to drive him around because he had been drinking was sentenced to two years of probation Thursday.
Shawn Weimer pleaded guilty in December to second-degree child abuse and allowing an unlicensed minor to operate a motor vehicle.
Weimer was arrested Oct. 8 when police pulled over his van and found the girl behind the wheel. Surveillance video from a Brownstown Township gas station shows the 39-year-old bragging about his daughter's driving skills.
"Take care of your child," Judge Margie R. Braxton told the Romulus resident during sentencing at Wayne County Court. She ordered him to pay court costs and fees.
Weimer apologized but did not offer additional comment beyond saying that he made a mistake in asking his daughter to drive that morning.
In earlier comments, Weimer said he'd been thinking about how he used to drive at his family's farm and junkyard when he was her age and how he had wanted to share that experience with his daughter.
During an exchange in court Thursday, Weimer said his daughter has been driving four-wheel-drive, off-road vehicles since she was 3.
He said his daughter had been driving the van along a private road for about 45 minutes before they set off for the gas station and that it was the first time she had driven the van.
The girl testified in November that her father had consumed half a bottle of whiskey that night and that she had agreed to drive but felt a "little scared."
Weimer currently is allowed supervised visits with his daughter, who is now 10 years old.
As part of his sentence, Weimer also must submit to alcohol testing, complete out-patient substance abuse treatment and perform 100 hours of community service. He previously said he had been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.