Charges: Grandpa let 5-year-old sit on lap, steer car

An 85-year-old Crystal, Minnesota man was arrested and charged with child endangerment for allowing his five-year-old grandson to ride on his lap and steer his car while he was driving.

A New Hope police officer stopped the man after they observed him driving his 2004 Mercury Marquis slowly down 49th Avenue with a small child on his lap who appeared to be steering the vehicle, according to the charges.

The grandfather told police he thought it was legal to allow his grandson to be on his lap and steer his car because he had done the same thing with other family members in the past.

At the police station, the grandfather explained he was teaching his grandson how to stop at a stop sign and look both ways. He told police he never drove on busy roads with his grandson on his lap.

This was not the first time the 85-year-old had been stopped by police for allowing the child to be on his lap and drive the vehicle. Officers from the Crystal Police Department said the grandfather had been warned several times in the past for similar conduct, but had never been cited. 

In Minnesota, all children under the age of eight must ride a federally-approved car seat or booster seat unless the child is 4 feet 9 inches or taller, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.