2-Year-Old Reported Missing After Driving Toy John Deere Tractor To County Fair

Chisago County Sheriff's Office

Some of you may recall George Jones’ infamous John Deere tractor story. It’s doubtful that a spunky Minnesota 2-year-old ever heard the story, but is being compared to the country legend after a stunt he pulled recently.

In George Jones’ 1996 autobiography, he recalled an incident that occurred when his second wife, Shirley Corley, did all she could to keep the singer from feeding his alcohol habit. But, she underestimated Jones’ determination.

Once, when I had been drunk for several days, Shirley decided she would make it physically impossible for me to buy liquor. I lived about eight miles from Beaumont and the nearest liquor store. She knew I wouldn’t walk that far to get booze, so she hid the keys to every car we owned and left.

But she forgot about the lawn mower. I can vaguely remember my anger at not being able to find keys to anything that moved and looking longingly out a window at a light that shone over our property. There, gleaming in the glow, was that ten-horsepower rotary engine under a seat; a key glistening in the ignition.

I imagine the top speed for that old mower was five miles per hour. It might have taken an hour and a half or more for me to get to the liquor store, but get there I did.

Decades later, a fiery two-year-old from Minnesota channeled his inner George Jones and went on a little John Deere tractor adventure of his own. According to a Facebook post from Chisago County Sheriff’s Office, the toddler drove his battery operated tractor from home to the fair, without the approval of his parents.


Sheriff’s sargeant Jason Foster told media that dispatchers received a call about the missing child at 6:51 p.m. Within a matter of minutes the toddler was spotted by a fair-goer, who is also a state representative, who waved down a deputy.

It turns out that the toddler lives less than two blocks from the fairgrounds and had seen the fair rides being set up. When the fair opened Thursday night he couldn’t contain his excitement and had to see things for himself. The little boy drove his tractor down the sidewalk, through a back gate and through the crowd before arriving at his favorite ride: The Tilt-a-Whirl.

The independent toddler was reunited with his parents who promptly revoked his driving privileges by removing the battery from his John Deere tractor.