DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa.– A husband and wife are facing charges after allegedly letting and sometimes forcing underage children drive.
Yvonne Wiest, 47, and Neil Wiest, 40, are facing endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors, and reckless endangerment, among other related charges.
According to court documents, in September 2018, State Police were made aware of allegations that the Wiests allowed multiple underage children to drive a motor vehicle on a public roadway.
During interviews, police found that multiple children, ranging in ages from 8-to-14-years-old were riding in the vehicles or asked to drive.
According to the criminal complaint, a 14-year-old was forced to drive for at least 10 minutes on a public road that was populated with other motorists, despite saying that they did not want to drive.
On another occasion, an 8-year-old was allegedly forced to drive despite crying and asking not to.
At that time, Neil Wiest allegedly stated, “sometimes you have to do things in life you don’t f****** want to do.”
Police say that during their interview with the children, they expressed that they were scared and didn’t want to drive, but expressed fear as to what would have happened if they didn’t drive.
During an interview with police, the Wiests both admitted to letting the children drive through the PA Gamelands on White Oak Road, and said that they didn’t recall any vehicles passing while the children steered.
In a provided statement to Cumberland County Children and Youth regarding letting his children drive, Neil Wiest said, “Was it technically illegal? Maybe.”
Yvonne Wiest is a first grade teacher at Susquenita Elementary School.
Susquenita School District Kent Smith confirmed that Wiest is on paid leave from her position as a teacher, but says the school district will have no further comment due to the “legal and personnel implications specific to this issue.”