Two Utah girls, 9 and 4, sneak out on joyride to the beach, crash head-on into tractor-trailer

Two Utah sisters, 9 and 4, who wanted to swim in the Pacific Ocean were lucky enough to walk away from a head-on collision with a tractor-trailer rig shortly after beginning their road trip, local media reported.

The girls left their home in West Jordan on their way to California and headed several miles north to West Valley City early Wednesday morning before the 9-year-old driver reportedly took a wrong turn into oncoming traffic and eventually slammed into the semi rig, according to Fox13.

Both of the girls were wearing their seatbelts, however, and there were no other injuries in the accident, the outlet noted.

Lt. Bill Merritt of the West Valley City Police Department told reporters that officers who responded to the accident said the girls could have been injured “pretty bad” had they not buckled up “because the vehicles were pretty munched,” according to KSL NewsRadio in Salt Lake City.

Police added that both the car and the truck had to be towed from the scene.

Bodycam footage posted to Twitter by the department came with this post: “Officers got quite a surprise when they responded to an accident this morning & discovered the driver was a 9yo girl. The young girl & her 4yo sister apparently snagged the keys to the family car while their parents were sleeping & set out on their own summer adventure.”

“The girls drove about 10 miles from their home in West Jordan — via a highway and a freeway — before exiting off, hopping a median and slamming head-on into a semi truck. The car suffered serious damage. Even the semi had to be towed!” the department noted in another tweet.

“Thankfully, though, no one got hurt, we suspect in large part because those little girls at least remembered to wear their seatbelts! So, what prompted this impromptu trip? The girls told officers that they were headed to California because they wanted to ‘swim in the ocean,'” said a third post.

Merritt explained that initially, the 9-year-old brushed up against a pickup truck, causing its driver to begin following her car, believing the driver could be under the influence or otherwise impaired. “He discovered the driver of the other vehicle was not impaired but was in fact a 9-year-old female driving with her 4-year-old sister,” said the lieutenant.

The girls left their house around 4:30 a.m. while it was still dark and their parents were asleep, reports noted. The parents did not know they had left and had taken a car until after police called them following the crash.

Officers said they were curious whether the parents had talked to their daughters about taking a vacation to California, but KSL reported that the youths devised the road trip on their own.

“Both of them came out of this accident absolutely fine, which is very fortunate as you can imagine,” Roxeanne Vainuku, a spokeswoman for West Valley police, told KSL. “I guess they were intending to start their summer vacation a little early.”

“I don’t know that we’ll tell them they were going the wrong way” to California, West Valley City Police Lt. Sean McCarthy joked, according to Fox13.

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Jon Dougherty

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