PORT HUENEME, Calif. - A 29-year-old Oxnard man is behind bars after allegedly endangering his 11-year-old nephew by making him his designated driver.
Port Hueneme police say that on Oct. 22 at about 2:45 p.m., officers pulled over a car after they noticed the driver violated several traffic laws. They discovered the driver was an 11-year-old boy. In the passenger seat, was an intoxicated man, according to police. He was later identified as Genoro Lopez, 29, the boy's uncle.
When the boy was asked why he was driving, he originally told police it was because his uncle was teaching him how to drive. However, police said he later told officers that his uncle was too drunk to drive.
Police said Lopez later admitted to letting the boy drive because he did not want to be arrested for drunk driving. The 11-year-old was released to the custody of his mother.
Port Hueneme police immediately handcuffed Lopez when they noticed a gun between the passenger seat and the door of the car. They later determined it was a replica gun.
Investigators later discovered Lopez had used methamphetamine several hours before the traffic stop while caring for the 11-year-old, Port Hueneme police said.
Lopez was arrested and booked into Ventura County Jail for felony child endangerment, outstanding misdemeanor warrant, and for having an open container of alcohol in the car. His bail was set at $50,000.
Lopez was arrested in May 2017 by the California Highway Patrol in Ventura for drunk driving, according to investigators.