Woman charged for letting 11-year-old drive




Posted on February 25, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 25 at 7:21 PM

AUSTIN -- An Austin woman is charged with abandoning or endangering a child after police say she allowed her fifth-grade nephew to cruise around with his fourth-grade brother alone in the woman's car.

Austin ISD Police Detective Travis Pickford was patrolling the area around Lanier High School on January 17, 2012 around 4:50 p.m. He stopped a maroon Saturn four-door sedan driving eastbound in the 1400 Block of Fairfield Drive. The driver was identified as an 11-year-old student at Wooldridge Elementary School.

Pickford says it was at the beginning of rush hour traffic when there was a high volume of vehicle traffic on surrounding roadways.

The driver told Pickford he and the passenger, his nine-year-old brother, were coming from their aunt's home on Payton Gin Road, heading to their house on N. Lamar Boulevard.

The car is registered to Carolina Romero-Gonzalez.

The boy said he and his brother asked to borrow the car to pickup their sister to get food.

Investigators interviewed 40-year-old Carolina Romero-Gonzalez. According to her arrest affidavit, Carolina admitted she lied to police during their initial meeting Jan. 17, 2013. She says she was nervous and feeling ill. Later she admitted her two nephews came to her home after school, asking for the keys to her Saturn so they could get food with their sister and mother. She admitted she gave the keys to the nine-year-old.

Romero-Gonzalez's bond is set at $7,500.

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