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'Uncle Drunk' let nephew, 8, steer car, police say

Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said Monday that Clarence Hairston, 58, was caught around 3 p.m Saturday letting his nephew steer his car while the boy sat on his lap. In Hairston's hand, Chitwood said, was a 24-ounce can of beer, and another empty can rested on the passenger-side seat.

Hairston. Credit: Upper Darby Police Department. Hairston. Credit: Upper Darby Police Department.

Upper Darby Police nicknamed the man who let his 8-year-old nephew steer his 2008 Chevrolet Impala down a busy road on a rainy afternoon as "Uncle Drunk."

Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said Monday that Clarence Hairston, 58, was caught around 3 p.m Saturday letting his nephew steer his car while the boy sat on his lap. In Hairston's hand, Chitwood said, was a 24-ounce can of beer, and another empty can rested on the passenger-side seat.

And the boy's 9-year-old brother was unsecured and jumping around in the back seat.

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"The guy's a moron," Chitwood said. "He put the two kids in harm's way and in a highly residential area. … and it's 3 o'clock in the afternoon. It's not like it's 4 o'clock in the morning."

Police found the man's car blocking traffic at the intersection of Gilford and Copley roads, and watched the car drive 10 feet, stop and repeat before eventually making a right-hand turn.

Police pulled the car over in front of Hairston's house, and "he's so drunk he can't get out of the car, the officers had to help him out," Chitwood said. "He can't stand up, he can't talk, he can't walk."

The boys were taken to their mother's house. Mom left the kids to Hairston, their uncle, to babysit while she was doing chores with her aunt.

"She had no idea he was drunk," Chitwood said, "and she certainly didn't give permission for her 8 year old to drive a car."

Hairston was charged with DUI, endangering the welfare of children, recklessly endangering another person, careless driving, reckless driving, permitted unauthorized person to drive.

His hearing is scheduled for Sept. 8th.

Follow Tommy Rowan on Twitter: @tommyrowan

 
 
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