Authorities in Orange, California, are investigating how a severely autistic boy was able to take a school golf cart for a ride after the teen crashed the cart on campus and died from his injuries.
A family representative said the Orange Unified School District is liable for his death because the keys were left in the golf cart.
The boy was 15, but his mental abilities were similar to that of a 3- to 5-year-old, according to a report.
In the aftermath of the boy’s death, students at El Modena High School held a walkout in protest.
“This is what El Modena is really about. Standing up for a situation that should have been avoided and we are here because we all care for [him]. Whether or not he had a disability, he is still a human being, a person in our community,” an El Modena student said. “Although he is gone, his presence will always be remembered.”
The school district said an investigation is underway. It added in a statement that he was attended to by an aide when he got into the golf cart.
“No other students were involved in the accident,” according to the district. “We were devastated to learn that he died from those injuries in the hospital. A letter was sent to families of El Modena High School alerting them to this heartbreaking incident. We take student safety very seriously and maintain appropriate supervision when students are on campus. At the time of the incident, the student was supervised by a one-to-one aide who attempted to stop him from operating the golf cart. We are cooperating with law enforcement to determine the exact circumstances surrounding the accident.”
A family representative said a wrongful death lawsuit would be forthcoming.