- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 2, 2002

A 10-year-old District Heights boy was critically injured yesterday when a golf cart taken for a joy ride by two other boys crashed through the window of an apartment building housing an after-school program, police and fire officials said.

The golf cart hit the building in the Woodland Springs apartment complex in the 6600 block of District Heights Parkway at about 4 p.m., breaking windows and dislodging bricks around the frame.

Eight children and three adults were in the classroom at the time, Prince George's fire department spokesman Mark Brady said. The seriously injured boy was flown by helicopter to Children's Hospital with a head wound. His mother was one of the three adults in the center at the time.

Mr. Brady estimated the cart was traveling between 30 and 40 mph when it struck the building.

"One minute it's quiet; the next everything just flew," said Liz O'Donnell, a volunteer at the after-school center. "It all happened in a flash."

David Kyle Jr., 10, was doing his homework inside the center when the accident occurred. He was unharmed.

"I heard a big crash," he said. "I saw books everywhere and half a golf cart came through the window."

Police were investigating the possibility that a brick struck the unidentified injured boy, who was sitting about 6 feet from the wall at the time. Witnesses said he was bleeding from his head and crying as he was taken from the building.

Police took the two boys who stole the golf cart into custody and charged them with theft, District Heights police Sgt. Wayne Simms said.

He would not reveal their names, but said the boys were 10 and 11 years old and lived nearby. The two were walking through the Woodland Springs complex when they found the golf cart with the keys in it.

"They just happened on it and took off," Mr. Brady said.

Police could not say how long the boys had the cart but said they took turns driving it and jumped off when they were confronted by a maintenance worker.

Sgt. Simms said he didn't believe the boys meant for the cart to roll 75 yards down the hill, which Mr. Brady estimated to be about 40 feet high.

The runaway cart threaded between two large air-conditioning units about 8 feet apart outside the center.

Sgt. Simms said the two boys who stole the cart did not try to flee.

"They tried to say somebody else had taken [the cart] and they were just trying to stop it from rolling down the hill, but we have too many witnesses that say otherwise," Sgt. Simms said.

Teachers at the center, jointly operated by Woodland Springs and Catholic Charities, notified parents of the accident by telephone and took children to the leasing center to await their parents' arrival.

Representatives of the complex management declined to comment on the incident.

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