75-year-old Lauren Burch Birk lives in a condominium in Largo, Florida. In 2017, she was arrested and convicted for driving under the influence.
Just before Christmas in 2020, Birk was with her 3 great-grandchildren. The children informed Birk that they wanted to look at the Largo Central Park Christmas lights display.
The woman reportedly agreed to take the kids, and after everyone was settled in the car, she backed out of the driveway.
Birk allegedly decided to get out of the driver’s seat, and she reportedly instructed her 10-year-old grandson to take the wheel as she got in the passenger’s seat.
As the child reportedly navigated the vehicle, he entered an area with traffic where the cars were idle.
A man, his wife, and their three children were sitting in an SUV in a traffic jam when the husband reportedly noticed Birk’s vehicle quickly approaching. The man said it appeared as if no effort was made to hit the brakes, and the car slammed into the vehicle carrying his family. His SUV was forced into a second car.
The man driving the SUV reported that he was sure he had seen a small child driving.
When the man exited his vehicle, he reportedly saw that the boy was sitting in the rear of the car. The driver’s seat was reportedly unoccupied.
When the authorities arrived at the scene, they reportedly noted that Birk appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. She was reportedly not given roadside sobriety tests, but she was taken into custody.
Birk was charged with felony child neglect and allowing an unlicensed minor to drive.
The prosecution reported frustration that Birk was not charged for DUI as well. It was revealed that if she received a second DUI charge, she would face mandatory jail time. The alleged victims expressed their intent to push forward with trying to have Birk charged for DUI.
If you or someone you love is suspected of a criminal offense, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.