Child neglect charge stems from child-driving incident

CRESTVIEW, Fla., Oct. 11, 2022—A Crestview man who asked a child to drive him back to his house Sunday is now charged with one count of child neglect without great bodily harm.

A witness spotted a car entering Oak Hill Road from a neighborhood around 8 a.m. yesterday and suspected the driver was impaired due to the vehicle being all over the roadway, according to an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office news release.

He cut off the car near the intersection of State Road 85 and Old Bethel Road and noticed a child was behind the wheel. He told the child to get in the passenger seat and pulled the car into a Tom Thumb store parking lot.

Alexander Todd Berrios

The 9-year-old driver told deputies that Alexander Todd Berrios, 22, of Brickhill Court, had asked him to drive him home and had pointed out directions along the nearly seven-mile trip.

The child was then on his way back to his own residence alone, and had traveled nearly 3 miles, when the witness intervened.

Berrios told deputies his decision was a “mistake” but would not elaborate.

When contacted, the child’s mother says she was not aware the boy had left the home.

“We want to express our sincere gratitude to the witness who noticed something was wrong and intervened, potentially preventing a tragedy involving a child,” said Sheriff Eric Aden.

OCSO news release

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