UPDATE: Manitowoc police arrest 13 -year-old girl for drunk driving

By Heather Sawaski, Local 5 News

Published 08/14 2014 04:49PM

Updated 08/14 2014 05:49PM

MANITOWOC, Wis. (WFRV) - Just before midnight Wednesday, a Manitowoc police officer pulled over a vehicle driving without headlights on near S. 22nd street.

"She seemed a little impaired by his judgment," said Deputy Chief Bridget Brennan. "When he asked for license, she said she didn't have one."

That's because she's just 13-years-old. According to Manitowoc police, the girl failed field sobriety tests and was placed under arrest. Five other kids, all under the age of 14, were also in the vehicle. One was recently reported as a runaway. All were eventually released to relatives.

"It's very uncommon for someone that young to be driving and to be caught driving under the influence," said Deputy Chief Brennan.

What's not rare is alcohol use among young people.

"That's still the number one drug of abuse with teens," explained Tom Ritchie, a clinical supervisor at Libertas Treatment Center in Green Bay.

Ritchie said studies show nearly 20 percent of teens admit to drinking before the age of 13.

"Availability, accessibility and a lot to do with our culture," he said.

Ritchie said that behavior puts them at a higher risk of developing alcoholism or other addictions later in life.

"It's important for the parents and the family to have those conversations and keep that communication open," he added.

The girl now faces charges of OWI with passengers under the age 16 in the vehicle.

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