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Road Warrior, Not So Fast: 12-Year-Old Australian Drives 800 Miles Solo

The 12-year-old boy who Australian police say drove some 800 miles solo likely traveled down roads like this one near the remote town of Broken Hill in New South Wales.

The road trip might be a rite of passage. But, as a rule, it requires a driver's license.

In Australia, home of the apocalyptic Mad Max franchise, a 12-year-old boy was on a coast-to-coast trip, from his home in Kendall in New South Wales all the way to Perth on the continent's western side. He managed about 800 miles, or about a third of the way, of the 2,500-mile trip before police caught him.

He was pulled over and arrested near the remote town of Broken Hill on Saturday because the car's bumper was dragging on the ground.

"Officers from Broken Hill Highway Patrol stopped a motor vehicle on the Barrier Highway due to defects which made the vehicle hazardous," a police spokesperson said, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

"Checks revealed the driver to be a 12-year-old boy travelling from Kendall, NSW, on his way to Perth," the spokesperson said.

The boy's parents reportedly picked him up Sunday. It's not clear whether he will face charges over the escapade.

As the BBC notes, "The journey from Kendall to Broken Hill involves driving hundreds of kilometres along straight, sealed highways which pass through some of Australia's most productive farmland and the featureless plains of the outback."

How he made it so far might be due to his appearance. Police said the boy is about 6 feet tall, according to The Associated Press. And a gas station manager quoted by the news service seemed flummoxed to learn that the customer who he said left without paying was only 12.

"When I saw him, he looked like a nice person who was maybe 19 or 20," Vamshi Reddy said. "When police told me he was 12 ... I was shocked."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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