12-year-old arrested making 1400km solo drive across Australia

The empty harshness of the Australian Outback. Photo from Getty

A 12-year-old boy was recently picked up by police after driving 1300km alone across barren inland Australia.

CNN reports that the boy began his journey from his home in Kendall, on the country’s east coast. He had planned to drive to Perth, a city on the west coast of Australia some 4,100km from his home. He was stopped by police in the remote mining town of Broken Hill because his bumper was dragging on the road. The New York Times points out that the young driver was stopped at 11 a.m. on Saturday, which means he was driving through the night. He is now safely home with his parents.

Little other information has been made available about the boy’s surprising journey. His motives for the ambitious trip — about the distance from Vancouver to Edmonton — are unknown. He stopped for gas once in the town of Cobar, New South Wales on Saturday and left without paying.

One clue to the boy’s success may be his unusual height. Standing around six feet tall, he appears older than he is. Vamshi Reddy was working at the gas station in Cobar where the boy stole gas, and expressed disbelief upon hearing his age. “When police told me he was 12 … I was shocked,” Reddy told the Associated Press.

On Monday, police confirmed that the car had been damaged and that it appeared the boy had had an accident at some point during his journey, reports The Guardian. Police say he will likely be charged under The Young Offenders Act for failing to pay for petrol and driving without a licence.