12-year-old driver damages man's livelihood. Who pays up? - KMOV.com

12-year-old driver damages man's livelihood. Who pays up?

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Cab Driver Edward Carpenter speaks with News 4 about the damages to his taxi after a 12 year-old stole it ( Credit:KMOV) Cab Driver Edward Carpenter speaks with News 4 about the damages to his taxi after a 12 year-old stole it ( Credit:KMOV)

A car accident, caught on camera, deprived a man of his livelihood. The driver behind the wheel was only 12-years-old.

According to police, the circumstances surrounding this bizarre accident are becoming more common and raising a lot of questions about who is responsible for accidents like it.

“I am an old school cab, that's what I am and what I do,” said Edward Carpenter, who lives in East. St. Louis.

Ed Carpenter loves being behind the wheel, taking fares around the metro east. He had just saved up to buy his own cab and had it only a few days before he came outside his home to find it damaged.

“My gas tank has been dislodged and if you see up here, I've got busted springs and when I drive, my van goes sideways,” he told News 4.

So he asked his landlord to review surveillance video from outside their house.

“When he showed it to me, I was like ‘oh my god,’” he said.

In the video, you can see a car slowly driving down the street, followed by the flashing lights of an East St. Louis police car. From another angle, you can see the collision, Ed's cab jerked up onto the curb.

The driver of the car, Ed learned later, was a 12-year-old. A little six-year-old was also in tow.

Despite his vehicle being heavily damaged, Ed says he was never notified of the accident by police.

“Why wasn't I notified when this happened? The number is on the cab, the name is on the cab!” he said.

After seeing the video, he went to police, but he says he's been getting the run around.

The estimate for repairs? $2,759 dollars.

And he doesn't want to hold the bag for the cab.

“I am not liable, I was in the bed, after working a 12-hour shift. My livelihood is wrecked. I need compensation for that and that's why I called you guys,” he said.

So News 4 went to the East St. Louis police and asked Lt. Donald Watson, over Internal Affairs about the incident.

Would you have considered this to be a police pursuit? “No, no, according to the video, I didn't see a pursuit or anything,” said Lt. Watson.

Lt. Watson says one of the officers involved knew the children behind the wheel.

Juvenile drivers are becoming a far more frequent problem, according to Lt. Watson.

“It’s took frequent now and I don’t know if the law is just not stiff enough,” said

The kids got safely home, and neither their mother, nor the babysitter watching them got in trouble

“I think you better pick your babysitters a lot better,” Lt. Watson said.

The owner of the car didn't have insurance and Lt. Watson notes, Ed didn't either...or proper registration.

“I told Mr. Carpenter, in giving her a ticket, we would have to give you a ticket.

Not a satisfactory answer for Ed, who says he just didn't have time to get proper plates.

So exactly who is responsible? That’s hard to know, according to insurance agent JR Bell, of Bell Insurance Solutions.

“Oh yeah, we see every kind of scenario,” he said.

Crazy stuff, like a kid behind the wheel, hitting a cab, happens. The police, he says, are rarely ever liable.

Insurance for situations like this, he says, is a must.

“Unusual things happen all the time, we can't insure for everything in life, but we have to try to protect what we can,” Bell said.  

The mother of the kids didn't have much to say but she promised us she'll help pay for the damages to Ed's cab.

But so far, Ed's not gotten any help.

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