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Police: 10-year-old driver flips van in Tenn.

Date: 10/7/2008 12:44 PM

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ A 10-year-old was driving up to 90 mph when he crashed a van carrying a man who told police he had drank at least 15 beers and a woman who was trying to swallow as many pills as she could when deputies arrived at the scene, Tennessee authorities said Tuesday.

The young driver lost control and the vehicle rolled, coming to rest on its top in northeastern Tennessee, Sullivan County authorities said. The two adults and three children in the van were taken to Bristol Memorial Hospital with minor injuries following Sunday’s crash.

Police charged 43-year-old Randy Lewis of Bristol with seven violations, including third offense DUI and felony reckless endangerment. People can be charged with DUI in Tennessee if they own the vehicle, even if they are not driving. A booking photo released by the Sheriff’s Office showed Lewis wearing a T-shirt that said, “Buy this dad a beer.”

Paula Elaine Evans, who is 38 and also of Bristol, faces charges that include aggravated child abuse or neglect.

Lewis and Evans were being held in the Sullivan County Jail after a judge increased their bonds on Tuesday to $50,000 each at an arraignment hearing.

County jailers did not know if Lewis and Evans had retained attorneys and no one was immediately available to answer questions at the Sullivan County Public Defender’s office.

The sheriff’s office said Lewis acknowledged drinking liquor besides the beers.

The children — two 10-year-olds and a 6-year-old — were related to the adults, said authorities who declined to further detail the relationships.

The children were released to the Tennessee Children’s Services Department after being treated at the hospital.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.

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