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North Port children stopped while driving mom's car 200 miles from home on I-75

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Posted at 12:57 PM, Sep 23, 2023

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A 10-year-old Florida boy and his 11-year-old sister who were running away to California drove 200 miles in their mother's car before they were stopped by sheriff's deputies on an interstate highway, authorities said.

The Alachua County Sheriff's Office said deputies spotted the sedan on Interstate 75 near Gainesville in north Florida just before 4 a.m. Thursday. The children's mother had reported it stolen and her children missing four hours earlier in North Port, a city in southwest Florida.

The deputies, thinking that they were dealing with car thieves, drew their guns and ordered those inside the car to step out.

"Much to their surprise, deputies observed a 10-year-old male driver exit the vehicle along with his 11-year-old sister," the department said in a statement.

The children told deputies the girl had been upset that their mother had taken away her electronic devices for misbehaving, so the boy was driving her to California.

The children were interviewed by detectives, who said there was no indication they had been mistreated by their mother or anyone else in the home.

The mother declined to press charges and the children were released to her.

The names of the mother and children were not released.