ATHENS, McMINN COUNTY (WRCB) - A McMinn County mother is in trouble for allowing her 12-year-old son to drive. It's no surprise the boy wrecked the car, and we're not talking a fender bender. It was a joyride that ended badly, but could have easily been deadly.

Two minors were in the SUV that flipped. The mother of the 12-year-old driver is facing several charges.

"I heard something sound like a big crash outside my house, I looked outside and saw a SUV Flipped over in my driveway," said homeowner Don Latham.

Moments later, two very young men crawled out of the carnage and ran up to Latham and his wife who had already called 911.

Latham recalls, "they said ‘can I use the phone to call my mom?' I said yea. Then I said how old are you boys? One said 16, one said 12. I asked who's driving? He said I was, the 12-year-old."

The driver was four years younger than the legal age.

Officers say the driver's mother had given her 12-year-old son permission to drive the car in the parking lot where she worked. Illegal to begin with, but when the minor left the lot with a neighbor in the passenger seat, it went from illegal to life threatening.

McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy said, "it could have really been terrible, two young men could have easily lost their lives."

Officers say the minor was headed back from his joy ride on County Road 500 in McMinn County, when they veered off the road causing more than $4,000 of damage to Latham's yard.

When the child's mother, Nancy Poteet arrived, she was arrested and charged with contributing to a minor, and prescription drug charges.

Mistakes Sheriff Guy says could be easily avoided with good parenting.

"I think we're seeing a pattern here, the type of lifestyle Miss Poteet is engaged in, between drugs and allowing her kids to do that. It's just simply a mistake, and hopefully she'll learn from it," said Guy.

The mother is out on a $1,500 dollar bond.