A man who let his 8-year-old cousin drive an SUV that was then involved in a crash has been charged with child endangerment – after initially trying to blame the boy.
Blake Folson, 25, of Eagan, was found in the passenger seat when his Jeep was involved in a crash with a Buick Century at Atlantic Street and Reaney Avenue in St. Paul just before 6 p.m. Monday, the criminal complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court says.
According to the complaint:
In the driver's seat was an 8-year-old boy, who was allegedly controlling the accelerator and brakes while Folson reached over to control the steering from the passenger's seat – only to make an abrupt U-turn that caused the crash.
Folson initially told police the boy, his cousin, took his keys to his Jeep Cherokee and tried to drive off, with his attempts to stop him proving unsuccessful.
But having spoken to the boy's adult sister, police were told Folson was in the vehicle before the boy got in, having been drinking and "burning rubber" in front of the house. The boy admitted to police he was driving the car and started to cry after telling officers, "it was stupid."
Folson gave a preliminary breath test with a result of .039 blood alcohol content, which is below the legal limit.
At a later interview, he is said to have admitted letting him drive and said he had also let his other juvenile cousins drive in the past.
Both vehicles sustained front end damage, while the woman driving the Buick suffered minor leg and head injuries.
If convicted, Folson could face a maximum penalty of one year in prison, a $3,000 fine or both.