Carlos Augusto Esparsa of Broward County, Florida was arrested Sunday after a neighbor accused him of letting a 9-year-old girl drive his car, sources say. Esparsa, 34, was booked into the Broward County Jail on charges of child abuse and permitting an unauthorized person to drive. Esparsa was also put on an immigration hold. His bail bond has been set at $2,500. It is unclear whether he has retained a private criminal defense lawyer.
Reports say Esparsa was looking after his girlfriend’s 9-year-old daughter Sunday, shortly before the incident occurred. While it is unclear what series of events led to the alleged incident, reports indicate that a neighbor purportedly noticed the child behind the wheel of a car. At the time, the girl was allegedly driving in the wrong lane of the 13400 block of Southwest 22nd Street in the Monarchs Lakes community. She was reportedly having trouble handling the vehicle, which was swerving, sources say.
The neighbor called police, who responded immediately. When officers from the Miramar Police Station arrived, they reportedly found both Esparsa and the girl in the vehicle. Reports did not indicate whether the vehicle was moving or stopped at the time. Police reported finding Esparsa behind the wheel of the vehicle and the girl in the back seat, though officers noted in their report that it appeared as if the girl had jumped into the back of the car and Esparsa had moved to the driver’s seat. When questioned by authorities, the girl purportedly admitted to driving the vehicle and told the officers that it was her first time ever driving a car. It is not clear whether Esparsa had anything to say about the allegations.
Esparsa was not the only Floridian charged with endangering a child recently. Thomas Walker of Boynton Beach, Florida was arrested Monday after witnesses allegedly found his toddler son walking around a parking lot by himself. Walker, 34, was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail on a single charge of child neglect without great harm. He was later released on a bail bond of $3,000. It is unclear whether he has hired legal representation.
Sources say police reported to the 700 block of Via Lugano Circle, where a witness at an apartment complex had purportedly been watching a toddler meander around a parking lot. The child was allegedly wearing only an infant body suit and was barefoot. After watching the child walk around unattended for a short while, the witness reportedly took him to the complex’s main office and called police. According to one report, the temperature that morning was around 87 degrees and the witness was concerned that the child would get too hot.
After officers arrived, sources say, they searched a vehicle that a witness told them belonged to the child’s parent. Officials located Walker’s room number in the car. When they knocked at his door, they were reportedly greeted by Walker, who apparently looked as if he had just woken up. Police inquired about Walker’s son, who Walker discovered was not in the apartment after a search. Walker went on to tell the officers that he and his son had fallen asleep together and that the child had left the home unbeknownst to Walker. Reports say that police handed the child over to his mother after Walker’s arrest.