Parenthood
7-year-old boy takes mom’s SUV for joyride to get treat
He decided he wanted to treat himself, so off he went.
Eduardo Gaskell
05.18.22

In Butler County, Ohio, 7-year-old Daniel Wittenbach pulled a “Gone in 60 Seconds” job when he got behind the wheel of his parents’ SUV Thursday.

It was a little after 8:30 a.m. Thursday when Middletown police began to receive reports of a “small child” driving an SUV in the wrong lane on Roosevelt Boulevard.

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And as expected, the youngster caused a bit of trouble behind the wheel.

7-year-old Daniel Wittenbach was driving the Kia all alone heading eastbound on Roosevelt Boulevard before he crossed the median.

Cars swerved to avoid the little driver as he drove into oncoming traffic, with many concerned citizens finally making 911 calls.

“There was a boy driving the wrong way, a small child in a red Kia,” one caller told emergency dispatchers.

“He almost hit another work vehicle. It was a boy — a child,” the caller said.

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The little boy even played music inside the SUV as he went on his joyride.

Eventually, and it was a good thing he did, Daniel hit the median causing him to slow down. A driver stopped and got out of his car trying to help by removing and wrapping a shirt around his hands so he could smash the window.

That’s the only time Daniel got worried, as he began shouting, “Stop! It’s my mom’s car!”

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“He didn’t understand that people were trying to help him and trying to stop the vehicle,” Daniel’s dad, Brian Wittenbach, said.

Officers were heading to the scene while a 911 dispatch gave them updates.

They arrived to find the red Kia SUV in the 1900 block of Roosevelt Boulevard crashed into a red Jeep. No one was angry at young Daniel though, they were just glad it was over.

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But how did the child get to the car in the first place?

Daniel says he took the car keys keys while mom and dad were asleep. The little guy used a chair to reach them.

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When asked by his parents later where he was trying to drive?

“His only response was, ‘I just wanted a slushie from Speedway,'” Daniel’s dad Brian Wittenbach said. “He was definitely scared. He didn’t understand that people were trying to help and trying to stop the vehicle.”

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Middletown police drove up at the Wittenbach’s home a few minutes after the crash and found Brian and Alesha Wittenbach still sleeping. Must have been an exhausting week.

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“My wife and I are not bad parents, and I’m sure people are going to label us like that. It could happen to anyone,” Brian Wittenbach said.

Brian and Alesha went on to say that they appreciate all the strangers who did all they could to try to stop their car and save their son.

“It scared the heck out of me, and I’m just thankful that he’s alive,” Brian Wittenbach said.

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Little Daniel was also taken to the hospital where he was observed for a few hours before being released.

Child protective services are set to speak with Daniel’s parents regarding the incident as investigations are being carried out.

Check out this shocking moment in the video below!

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By Eduardo Gaskell
hi@sbly.com
Eduardo Gaskell is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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