Police find children in the trunk of father's car

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LANCASTER, S.C. —

William Benton said Monday that he knew his license was revoked when he took the wheel of the car Saturday night, and he knew there too many people to ride safely, but it was "a simple transportation issue."

He didn't know that issue would land him in jail.

Eyewitness News reporter Ken Lemon asked Benton if he should have done things differently.

"Well, yeah," he said.

Benton said his 16-year-old son, who has a learner's permit, drove his car to the Christmas Parade Saturday night.

He said the teen didn't feel comfortable driving back with so many people on the road, and they met other friends at the Parade.

"Someone was supposed to meet us there to get the other kids home and they didn't," Benton said. "My 14-year-old said, 'Hey,  I'll jump in the trunk.'"

One of the parade goers told an officer their car had a stolen tag.

Police stopped the car.

Someone inside told he kids to get out.

They pulled a release line and popped the trunk.

"We wasn't trying to hide them," Benton said.

Capt. Scott Grant of the Lancaster Police Department said intent was not the issue, saying the incident was "just really bad judgement" on Benton's part.

Grant said there were hundreds of drivers leaving the parade and a high possibility of an accident.

"A minor rear-end collision that wouldn't normally affect someone in the passenger compartment could have been very hazardous for four kids stacked up in the trunk of a vehicle," he said.

Grant said Benton didn't have a license, the car was not insured, and the license tag was stolen.

Benton had to post a $40,000 bond to get out of jail.

He goes to court on February on charges of child endangerment, driving while his license was suspended, and possession of a stolen tag.