PAULINA, Ore. -- A Terrebonne man who was letting a 10-year-old girl sit in his lap and teaching her how to drive was arrested on drunken driving and other charges after the car crashed into a guardrail on Highway 380 (the Paulina Highway) Sunday evening, authorities said.
Michael Dean Sturgill, 33, and the girl, a family friend, were taken by ambulance to Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Prineville, where both were treated for minor injuries and released, said Crook County sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Travis Jurgens.
Sturgill’s wife and another young girl also were in the maroon 1997 Kia at the time of the crash, but neither were injured, Jurgens said.
Deputies were dispatched around 6:40 p.m. to the single-car crash nearly 40 miles east of Prineville and west of Paulina, the detective said.
An investigation determined he’d been letting the girl sit in the driver’s seat with him and was teaching her how to drive as the car headed west, Jurgens said.
"She was sitting in his lap, steering the car as it drove down the road," Jurgens said Monday.
After release from the hospital, Sturgill was booked into the Crook County Jail on a DUII charge, three counts of reckless endangering, fourth-degree assault, two counts of felon in possession of a firearm, felony driving with a revoked license and a parole violation.
Sturgill later was transported to the Deschutes County Jail in Bend and held without bail on the parole violation charge.
"It definitely could have been a lot worse," Jurgens said, noting that the car was on a winding road with steep drop-offs.