NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - A drunk father allegedly allowed his 8 year-old son to drive his pick-up truck on a southeast Louisiana highway on Saturday while he slept, until patrol officers pulled over the boy, police said.
The boy was driving the Chevrolet truck on Interstate 12 near the town of Holden, with his father in the passenger seat and his 4 year-old sister in the back seat, Louisiana State Police said in a statement.
A passing motorist noticed the pick-up truck was being driven erratically and called police.
When Louisiana state troopers pulled over the truck in Livingston Parish, they found the 8 year-old boy behind the wheel and interviewed the father, 28 year-old Billy Joe Madden of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, police said.
Police said they determined Madden was drunk and that he had been sleeping while his son drove the vehicle, en-route to Dallas, Texas.
Madden was arrested and booked into jail on two counts of child desertion, parent allowing a minor to drive, open container and two counts of no child restraint and no seatbelt.
Madden remains in jail at Livingston Parish Detention Center in lieu of $1,474 bail, said sheriff's deputy Dustin Sanders at the facility.
Both of Madden's children were turned over to child welfare authorities and were awaiting the arrival of a family member who could take custody of them, police said.
Reporting by Kathy Finn; Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Tim Gaynor