The father of a 12-year-old boy who went on an overnight joyride on a major Toronto highway says his son had never driven a car before and is usually very well-behaved.
At around 1:30 a.m., Toronto police received several calls about a suspected impaired driver in northwest Toronto and on the QEW. Police later determined that the driver of the vehicle was a 12-year-old boy.
“It’s just unbelievable … He went through about a quarter tank of gas,” the father of the boy told CTV News Toronto on Tuesday. “This boy has been a good, well behaved boy. He's obedient, he's mild-mannered, he talks respectfully to everybody.”
Police said that multiple callers said they saw a burgundy SUV driving in an erratic manner on early Tuesday morning. Both the Toronto police and the Ontario Provincial Police teamed up to look for the vehicle.
After investigating, police determined the vehicle was missing from a family home near Islington Avenue and Albion Road. It was also determined that the vehicle owner's son was missing.
After receiving more calls about the vehicle, police found the SUV on the QEW west of Hurontario Street early Tuesday morning.
Several police cruisers were involved to bring the child to a safe stop on the highway. The boy had no injuries and there was no damage to the vehicle, police said.
The father, who did not want to be identified, said he thought his son was asleep on Monday night until the doorbell rang and police were at his door telling him what happened the next morning.
He said he son was in shock when he came home and hasn’t spoken very much about what happened. He said the boy was trying to hide from his gaze when police returned him.
“I guess he was so afraid that I was going to be angry or something,” he said. “I was concerned … but punishment is not the big part of this scenario, the big part is getting into the psychology of his brain, finding out what’s the cause for something like this.”
“He doesn't break the rules and do stuff like this and then all of a sudden, you know, basically taking a car without permission … that's like a pretty big thing.”
The father said his son’s been isolated at home during the pandemic, which may explain in some way why he suddenly acted this way.
He said he asked his son if he is doing okay and is well amid the pandemic, but his son always gave him a positive response.
“It’s not a day I want to go through again. You know, I don't know how to describe it,” he said. “It was disorientating.”