The boy has always wanted to drive the car, said his teenage sister, Rocio Alvarez.
“We tell him no,” she said.
But the Grand Haven Township boy — who was not named because he is a juvenile — took advantage of an afternoon off from school and no one home to take the Plymouth Breeze for a ride.
Police first received calls about a careless driver in the area of Lincoln Street and 144th Avenue in Grand Haven Township shortly after noon Friday, said Sgt. Jon Ditmar of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department. Callers said the car had gone off the road several times and had several near misses with other vehicles.
Scott Fales was one of the callers. Fales said he was driving on Lincoln Street when the Breeze pulled out of a driveway and into the opposing lane of traffic.
“I saw a little kid driving a car all over the road, swerving side to side,” Fales said.
Fales said he tried to get the boy to pull over at the corner of 144th Avenue and Lincoln, but the boy drove through a yard before returning to the road.
As he followed the boy driver south on 144th, Fales said the Breeze swerved and the boy tried to correct it. However, the car went off the road, hit a phone cable box, and then rolled over on its top and slid into a fence.
Neighbor Diana Currier said she heard the crash and immediately called 911.
“It literally echoed through my house,” she said. “It sounded really bad.”
Currier said the first sound she heard was the car striking the gravel of her driveway before it traveled across her neighbor’s yard.
Across the street, Nick Harinton said he heard the car skidding before he saw it sliding on its roof.
Fales and Harinton were the first to get to the crashed car. Harinton said the boy was pinned inside, hanging from his seat belt, but he was conscious.
“The kid said he wanted his mom,” Harinton said, “and he couldn’t feel his feet.”
Harinton said he crawled inside the car to calm the boy until emergency help arrived.
“He kept trying to take off his seat belt, but I wouldn’t let him,” Harinton said.
Emergency officials at first called for the Aeromed ambulance helicopter to be put on standby, but they called it off when they determined the boy was not seriously injured.
The boy was extricated from the car by Grand Haven Township firefighters. He was taken by ambulance to North Ottawa Community Hospital, where he was listed in good condition late Friday afternoon.
“The kid appears to be doing pretty good,” Ottawa County Sheriff's Deputy Jeff Somers said. “He was moving his arms and legs around.”
Ditmar said the incident was still under investigation, and it would be up to the Ottawa County Prosecutor’s Office as to whether or not the boy would be charged with any crime.