Van carrying 7-year-old hits tree, man towing vehicle may face chargesPublished 10:50am Tuesday, April 16, 2013
A 34-year-old Austin man may face charges after trying to tow a disabled van that carried his 7-year-old daughter and struck a tree.
Police Chief Brian Krueger said officers responded to an accident with no injuries at about 1:45 p.m. Monday at Fourth Street and 13th Avenue Northwest near Subway.
According to a police report, the 34-year-old man told police his Dodge Caravan had become disabled on the road, as he believed he broke an axle and the upper front tire on his passenger side broke off. He went home to drive his Chevy pickup truck to the scene to tow the car, taking his 7-year-old with him. The man told police he put the 7-year-old behind the wheel of the van before attaching a tow strap and attempting to tow the vehicle using his truck.
Yet the man and several witnesses told police the van veered east, off the road, and struck a tree. Witnesses told police the man then got the 7-year-old out of the van and back in the truck. Krueger said when officers asked the man how the 7-year-old was supposed to stop the van if it had towed straight — as she couldn’t reach the brakes — the man told police the van would have just struck the back of the truck to stop.
The man and his daughter were allowed to go home, but Krueger said the Mower County Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case for potential child endangerment charges.