Detroit dad who allowed 9-year-old to drive van sentenced to 2 years probation

Shawn Weimer
CBS Detroit
Shawn Weimer
CBS Detroit

(CBS/AP) DETROIT - A father who admitted that he allowed his 9-year-old daughter to drive him around while he was intoxicated was sentenced to two years of probation Thursday.

The Detroit Free Press reports that 39-year-old Shawn Weimer pleaded guilty in December to second-degree child abuse and allowing an unlicensed minor to operate a motor vehicle.

"I'd like to say I'm sorry for all the trouble I've casued," Weimer said in court today.

Weimer was arrested Oct. 8 when police pulled over his van and found the girl behind the wheel. Surveillance video from a Brownstone Township gas station shows the father bragging about his daughter's driving skills.

"Just take care of your child," Judge Margie R. Braxton told Weimer during sentencing at Wayne County Court. She ordered him to submit to alcohol testing, not possess alcohol or drugs unless prescribed by a physician, seek and maintain employment, not engage in assaultive, abusive, threatening or intimidating behavior and pay court costs and fees.

In court Thursday, Weimer said his daughter has been driving four-wheel-drive, off-road vehicles since she was three years old. He said that the night he was arrested his daughter had been driving the van along a private road for 45 minutes before they set off for the gas station. Weimer also said that it was the first time she had driven the van.

His daughter testified in November that her father had consumed half a bottle of whiskey that night and that she had agreed to drive but felt "a little scared."

Weimer is currently allowed supervised visits with his daughter, who is now 10 years old.

Weimer declined comment after sentencing. His attorney, David Steingold, said his client is relieved the case is over and is trying to get back to life as usual.

"What he did was wrong because of the manner in which he did it -on a public road while he was intoxicated," Steingold said. "Do I think or does Shawn think that it's wrong to teach his daughter to drive? No, absolutely not."

Weimer is a good father who made a bad mistake, he said. "I'm convinced Shawn will never be before a court on a criminal charge again."

More on Crimesider:December 20, 2011 -- Dad who used 9-year-old as designated driver pleads guilty to child abuseNovember 30, 2011 -- Detroit dad Shawn Weimer accused of letting 9-year-old drive van may plead guilty, says lawyer