An 11-year-old boy's highway drive landed his mother's boyfriend in jail, with investigators saying Wednesday that the man coaxed the youngster to follow him through the Mojave Desert.
Terry Michael Varner, 51, was charged with willful cruelty to a child resulting in possible injury or death. He was arrested Sunday and remained jailed with bail set at $100,000. It was unknown if he had an attorney.
Sheriff's dispatchers were notified at about 12:52 p.m. Sunday that a reckless driver was on Interstate 15 and then northbound on U.S. 395 in the desert town of Adelanto, San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Jodi Miller said. Some callers said a child was behind the wheel.
Deputy Michelle Morgan spotted the car and pulled it over. Another vehicle in front of the child driver also pulled over, but that vehicle quickly left before the deputy could contact its driver, according to a sheriff's report. Miller said there was no description of the types of vehicles.
The boy was taken to the Victor Valley Sheriff's Station in Victorville and his mother and Child Protective Services were notified. The boy was later released to his mother.
The boy told investigators that Varner told him to get in the car and follow him through the rural area. Investigators confirmed Varner, boyfriend of the child's mother, was in the second vehicle.
Investigators don't know why Varner wanted the boy to follow him.
Varner was found by a deputy in the desert near Shadow Mountain Road and U.S. 395, the department said in a news release.
Adelanto is about 60 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
Information from: Daily Press, http://www.vvdailypress.com