MANITOWOC, WI (CNN) – A 13-year-old girl is facing a charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Police say the girl took her mother’s car without permission.
Just before midnight Wednesday, a Manitowoc police officer pulled over a vehicle driving without headlights on near south 22nd Street. “She seemed a little impaired by his judgment, when he asked for license; she said she didn’t have one,” Deputy Chief Bridget Brennan said.
That’s because she’s just 13-years-old. According to Manitowoc police the girl failed field sobriety tests and was placed under arrest. Five other kids all under the age of 14 were also in the vehicle.
One was recently reported as a runaway. All were eventually released to relatives. “It’s very uncommon for someone that young to be driving and to be caught driving under the influence,” Deputy Chief Brennan continued
What’s not rare is alcohol use among young people. “That’s still the number one drug of abuse with teens is alcohol,” Tom Ritchie is a clinical supervisor at Libertas treatment center in Green Bay.
He says studies show about 20 percent of teens admit to drinking before the age of 13. “Availability and accessibility have a lot to do with our culture.”
Ritchie says that behavior puts them at a higher risk of developing alcoholism or other addictions later in life.