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Police: Babysitters let 11-year-old drive car

By Meredith Machen, mmachen@wcyb.com
Published On: May 17 2013 05:02:28 PM CDT
Updated On: May 15 2013 05:00:00 PM CDT

An 11-year-old child tooik the wheel of a car and crashed into the side of a Kingsport home.

KINGSPORT, Tenn. -

An 11-year-old child took the wheel of a car and crashed into the side of a Kingsport, Tennessee home.

Police said everyone walked away from the accident, but now two babysitters are facing charges.

A broken fence and a toppled swing set are the results of what could have been a much more devastating Kingsport crash.

Police said an 11-year-old was driving a car under the supervision of her babysitters: 52-year-old Katrina Taylor and 49-year-old Landon Hammonds.

A police report states the Kingsport couple was letting her drive to a nearby church parking lot, even though the child was too small to even reach the gas. "The male [Hammonds] was actually straddling the center console and working the pedals while they allowed the 11-year-old to drive the car," said Tom Patton, public information officer with the Kingsport Police Department.

Police said Hammonds was not a fit driver, either. Reports said he had a revoked license and smelled of alcohol. "In this case, we had an intoxicated adult who was supposed to be responsible for the 11-year-old," said Patton.

Officers said it didn't take long for the car to lose control.

Neighbors told us the car was driving down a hill and went off the road, driving between a pole and a wire that anchors it down before hitting the fence straight ahead.

Neighbor Wendy Himmelwright told us she came outside after she heard the loud bang of the crash. "I dialed 911 immediately and said to them, 'Can you please get out here immediately? I'm not sure if she's carrying beer bottles or beer cans, but that's what it looks like, and they're walking up the road,'" Himmelwright said.

Himmelwright is just thankful the child is okay and no other children or neighbors were in the car's path. "I walk my dogs. We have some people that just take walks up and down the road, and there are children that play in this neighborhood like where that swing set is," said Himmelwright.

We learned Landon Hammonds is charged with driving under the influence and reckless endangerment.

Katrina Taylor also faces a reckless endangerment charge. She is also charged with aiding and abetting DUI.