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Boy, 11, caught driving on highway; mom's boyfriend told him to do it, police say

June 29, 2011 | 10:05 am

A boy, 11, was caught driving on Highway 395 in San Bernardino County on Sunday, and deputies say it was at the behest of his mother’s boyfriend, who now faces felony charges.

Just before 1 p.m. Sunday, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Victor Valley station received a call about a child driver traveling recklessly while heading northbound on Highway 395 from Interstate 15. A deputy pulled the car over on Highway 395 just north of Seneca Drive, officials said.

Another vehicle, traveling in front of the car driven by the boy, also pulled over, but the driver left before the deputy could talk to him, officials said. That driver was Terry Michael Varner, 51, the boyfriend of the boy's mother.

Officials said Varner asked the 11-year-old to drive the car.

Varner was apprehended later, arrested on suspicion of child endangerment and booked in Victor Valley Jail. He has been charged with willful cruelty to a child resulting in possible injury or death, which is a felony. Officials said Wednesday morning that Varner was still in custody in lieu of $100,000 bail.

After the incident, the vehicle the boy was driving was towed to the Victor Valley sheriff's station, and deputies called the boy's mother along with Child Protective Services, officials said. The boy was later released to his mother.

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-- Kate Mather

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