Mom Charged With Child Abuse for Letting Her 11-Year-Old Son Drive a Golf Cart

May 23, 2016 Updated: May 23, 2016

A Florida mother was charged with child abuse after she let her 11-year-old son drive a golf cart at a luxury resort hotel on vacation in North Carolina.

Julie Mall said that she broke the law when she let her son drive the golf cart, but she thought it would be fine as her husband was in the front seat with him. The ride was short and on a clear path, she said, according to The Orlando Sentinel. 

Police officer James Hunter saw the boy behind the wheel at the resort on Bald Head Island, North Carolina. He pulled the cart over and after that, the situation escalated, Mall said.

Mall and her family said Hunter was aggressive at the start, accusing her of being drunk and he also threatened to take away her children. The Bald Head Village police department said she was drunk, disorderly, and resisted. However, a sobriety test wasn’t administered, the Charlotte Observer reported.

Mall, who said she had been vacationing in Bald Head for years, was charged with child abuse.

“Immediately he started berating us,” Mall told the Observer. “He was saying, ‘How old is this kid?’ ‘Are you guys drunk?’ ‘I could write you up for child abuse,'” she recalled.


Her niece agreed with Mall’s assessment.

“I thought maybe he was having a bad day. He was agitated. He was yelling, making vigorous hand gestures, leaning into the golf cart,” Stephanie Phelps said.

Her niece then had to take the kids back to the family’s cottage while the officer yelled.

“I said, ‘You ought to be ashamed of yourself,’ and I stuck my finger in his face,” Mall said. The officer then called for backup as he didn’t have a citation book with him. Two more police cars arrived on the scene.

She told the paper that she was standing in the roadway at the time, and she tapped on her phone. The officer then told her she was blocking traffic and needed to return to the golf cart, which her niece had taken home.

“He said, ‘You need to go back to your golf cart, or I’m going to cuff you,'” Mall asserted.

Then, she added, he “lunged across at me, twisting my arm behind my back. I’m hysterical. I’ve never been that scared of anything in my life.”

Her husband then filmed the encounter because he felt “this wasn’t an up-and-up situation.” She was then cuffed and charged.

According to reports, police said Mall and her husband were intoxicated and stood in the middle of the street, blocking traffic.

“In attempting to secure the custody of the female, same dropped to the ground and began screaming and flailing around, refusing to surrender her hands or obey officer commands,” the police report stated.

Eventually, charges were dropped against Mall after she was summoned to court twice. The officer didn’t show up both times.