Feb. 24, 2019
Officers responded to a call of distress in the Berkeley Hills this weekend where a group of local highschool students stole a UC Berkeley golf cart and took it for a joyride. The teenagers lost control of the vehicle as it flipped and skidded down the road.
The incident occurred at approximately 1 a.m. Sunday on Centennial Drive, just a few yards away from the entrance to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Authorities believe that the cart was traveling at an excessive speed, causing the driver to lose control as the vehicle approached the curve. The cart flipped on its side, blocking both directions of traffic. One of the students, a young woman, was found lying on the side of the road having sustained major injuries.
Although the young woman was in need of medical attention, the accompanying students abandoned their injured colleague and fled the scene. With each cart valued at over $2,000 USD, those caught stealing these vehicles may be charged with a felony.
After requesting for medical transportation, on-lookers assured the student that help was on the way. The young woman was frightened — fearing that her leg was seriously injured — as she could not move.
Multiple officers responded by establishing a perimeter to make way for the ambulance. The young woman’s father arrived in a panic just before the EMTs made their way over to the injured student.
With the young woman now on route to a hospital, UCPD officers were tasked with clearing the road. Together with the firefighters present, they managed to get the overturned golf cart back on its wheels. An officer then made his way back down the hill in the cart to return the vehicle to Memorial Stadium.
The university has a history of mismanaging their fleet of golf carts as there have been reports of vehicle thefts over the last three years. Most of these incidents appear to be joyrides where the carts were later retrieved.
The UCPD advises campus staff to remove the keys from the ignition and to consider implementing anti-theft locks to prevent similar incidents in the future.
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