A Florida man has been arrested after he allegedly allowed a 12-year-old girl to drive his SUV and encouraged her to speed because he wanted to be a “cool father”, despite not being related to the girl.
Shaun Michaelsen, 41, is facing felony charges after an officer said he pulled over his speeding vehicle to find a 12-year-old girl in the driver's seat, according to an arrest report.
The police report said that Mr Michaelsen claimed the girl had asked earlier in the day if she could drive his Jeep, and he thought “it would be cool”.
Mr Michaelsen said he was friends with the girl's mother and that the 12-year-old and her friend were staying with him for a few days, according to court records.
He also said that he was trying to be a “cool father”, the police report said, despite not being related to the child.
The incident allegedly unfolded around 12.10am on Monday when an officer noticed the SUV make an illegal U-turn and then speed away, the arrest report said.
While pursuing the vehicle, Jupiter police officer Craig Yochum said the vehicle reached speeds of 85 mph (135 kph) in a 45 mph (70 kph) zone before he was able to pull it over.
Mr Yochum said that when he asked the 12-year-old why she was driving so fast, she said Mr Michaelsen told her to.
Mr Michaelsen reportedly also told officers he had been drinking.
The 41-year-old has been charged with child neglect and allowing an unauthorised person to drive.
He was also charged with causing a minor to become a delinquent after being accused of buying the girls vape pens.
Mr Michaelsen is being held without bond on Tuesday at the Palm Beach County Jail. Court records do not indicate if he has an attorney.
Additional reporting by Associated Press.
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