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Phillip Knutson arrested for letting 12-year-old daughter drive him home

5:27 PM, Nov 20, 2012   |    comments
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By Jaclyn Allen

Westminster, CO (KMGH/CNN) - A 12-year-old crashed a pick-up truck Saturday in a busy residential neighborhood.

Police arrested the girl's father for letting her drive, allegedly after he'd been drinking .

Pictures show the pick-up plowed into the tree.

"Little girl was shaken, really shook up," said neighbor Dennis Gene.

Gene had just finished mowing a patch of grass when he heard the crash.

"A minute earlier, and it would have been me in front of the tree," he said.

Police say a 12-year-old girl was behind the wheel. Her father, Phillip Knutson, let her drive.

"Mr. Knutson had been at a friend's house, helping them out. Enjoyed a few alcoholic beverages and decided to let his 12-year-old daughter drive him home," said Cheri Spottke with the Westminster Police Department.

Another neighbor, who did not want to be identified, says she smelled alcohol on Knutson while he was defending himself.

"I couldn't believe it. I said, 'Why are you letting her drive in a residential area?' He says, 'Oh she does it all the time,'" said an unidentified neighbor.

KMGH-TV checked, and court records show Knutson was arrested for DUI and careless driving in 2007. Fortunately, in Saturday's crash, no one was seriously injured.

"I can see letting your kids drive, but you find an open field, an open parking lot, something where there's nothing around them. Hopefully he learned his lesson, but he could have hurt his little girl severely, could have killed her, you don't know," said Gene.

Knutson says he made a horrible mistake by letting his daughter drive, but says he had not been drinking.

Police say they tried to do a breathalyzer test on Knutson, but the machine malfunctioned and they couldn't get an official reading.


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