A word of caution to those teaching their teenagers how to drive: Wait until they're the legal age and try an empty parking lot.
Police say a 25-year-old woman did not heed that advice Tuesday when her 14-year-old niece crashed the van in which they were riding through a fence and plunged into Northeast Baltimore's Lake Montebello.
The woman, who was teaching her niece how to drive, was handed citations that include knowingly permitting a child under 15 to drive a motor vehicle on a public road, and knowingly permitting a motor vehicle to be driven on a public road by an unlicensed person. She could face fines totaling $430 and five points on her license for each of the violations.
A person is not allowed to operate a motor vehicle in Maryland until receiving a learner's permit at age 15 years and nine months, according to a spokesman with the Motor Vehicle Administration.
Baltimore police spokesman Kevin Brown said that all of the van's occupants — the young driver, her aunt and the aunt's 53-year-old mother — escaped from the partially submerged van with the help of passers-by. No one was injured, Brown said.
The identities of the people in the van were not released by police.
The accident occurred on the north side of the lake when the teen accidently put her foot on the accelerator instead of the brake, Brown said. The vehicle was in "waist-high" water, the spokesman said.