Student Dies From Golf Cart Crash Injuries
A 15-year-old special needs student died from injuries sustained in a golf cart crash on his high school campus, school officials announced on September 11. The student, Manny Perez, got into a golf cart used by the maintenance crew at El Modena High School in Orange County on September 9. The keys were in the ignition, and apparently, the student drove the golf cart a short distance. It then crashed into a wall. Perez was taken to a local hospital, where he died from internal injuries later in the day.
Conflicting Accounts Raise Controversy
Manny Perez was autistic and a special needs student at the school. News reports describe him at on the low end of the autistic spectrum, with the mental capacity of a 4-year-old and limited motor skills. As a result of his special needs, he was attended by at least one person.
While there is consensus that the golf cart’s keys were in the ignition, how and why the student got into the golf cart is the subject of controversy. Officials at El Modena maintain that he was attended by a one-on-one aide, who attempted to persuade him to get out of the golf cart.
Earlier, however, the officials had stated he was with a group of students and teachers and broke away, getting into the golf cart. They then said he was left in the golf cart, although the keys were in the ignition. Some reports said the golf cart was idling at the time, and that the student pushed on the accelerator.
A group of students at the school staged a walkout on a few days after the incident, citing the conflicting stories from school officials and noting their sympathy with Manny Perez and his family.
His family has apparently retained an attorney, who noted his mental capacity in news reports and said he “should have been supervised.” The attorney indicated a suit was “imminent.”
The high school is part of the Orange Unified School District, which reiterated their commitment to student safety in a statement. They said an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident was ongoing.
An Accident on School Grounds
The incident at El Modena High School is tragic. While an investigation into exactly what happened in the accident appears to be ongoing, some general comments can be made about school safety.
Schools have a duty of care to their students to ensure safe conditions both in the schools and on the grounds. If the school has special needs students, the duty of care includes supervising them sufficiently.
Any school that breaches the duty of care expected could potentially be liable for injuries and death caused by the failure.
How a Southern California Law Firm Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a Los Angeles accident for which another person or entity is responsible, we can help. Please call today for a complimentary appointment to discuss your case with a seasoned personal injury lawyer.
Ellis Law Corporation has been successfully investigating and litigating personal injury accidents for over two decades. We fight to see that justice is done.
- High School Students Stage Walk-Out in Wake of Teen’s Deadly Golf Cart Crash. NBC News Los Angeles. September 12, 2019. https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/autistic-teen-orange-death-golf-cart-560175801.html.
- OC Student With Special Needs Dies From Injuries Sustained in Golf Cart Crash on School Campus. CBS Los Angeles. September 11, 2018. https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2019/09/11/oc-student-special-needs-dies-golf-cart-crash/.