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Police charge mother, grandmother of Heidelberg boy who crashed car into house

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By Margaret Harding
Monday, July 1, 2013, 12:00 p.m.
 

When Charles Hilpert peered into the car that crashed through his neighbor's hedges on Monday, he found a shirtless boy crying for his mother.

“That was the shocker,'” said Hilpert, 52, of Heidelberg. “I did not expect to see a pint-size boy who can't even see out the windshield.”

Paramedics took the boy, 5, to Children's Hospital in Lawrenceville for treatment of minor burns and bruises from the air bags, and possible neck and head injuries, police Chief Vernon Barkley said.

“He was more scared of getting punished than anything else,” Barkley said.

The boy, whom police did not identify, grabbed the keys to his grandmother's Ford Focus, walked outside without a shirt or shoes on and managed to start the car in its parking spot on Washington Street.

He crashed through hedges and into the front steps of a house less than a block away about 9 a.m., unbeknownst to his mother, Lisa Linderman, 30, or grandmother, Rebecca Linderman, 59.

“Both adults in this home were too preoccupied and obviously not paying attention to this child's whereabouts or what he was doing,” Barkley wrote in a criminal complaint supporting a charge of endangering the welfare of a child against both Lindermans.

The women will be charged by summons. They could not be reached for comment.

His mother and grandmother blamed the child's interest in driving on his father, who does not live with them, because he lets the boy sit on his lap while driving, police said. The women arrived at the scene after the crash.

The homeowner, who would not give his name, said he was happy no one was seriously hurt. He declined further comment.

Hilpert lives next door to the damaged house and heard an engine revving while drinking his morning coffee. He ran outside when he heard the crash.

“I looked in the car and I saw a little boy on the driver's seat,” Hilpert said. “I was like, ‘Holy smokes.' He was crying and saying, ‘I'm so sorry.' ”

The sight shocked Hilpert. “It gave me a better adrenaline rush than the morning coffee.”

Margaret Harding is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8519 or mharding@tribweb.com.

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