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August 5, 2002

Motorcycle officer suffers minor injuries in campus collision

By Jennifer McNulty

UCSC police officer Brian Cabriales suffered a fractured finger and bruises after he collided with a motorist and was thrown from his motorcycle while on duty July 26, according to police.

Photo of officer Brian Cabriales

Officer Brian Cabriales was thrown about 15 feet in the accident. Photo: UCSC Police Department

The accident occurred at about 3:30 p.m. at the intersection of Hagar and Coolidge Drives near the base of campus. Cabriales was southbound on Coolidge traveling at a speed of about 30 miles per hour when a motorist pulled out from the stop sign on Hagar Court in front of Cabriales. The officer struck the car and was thrown about 15 feet, said UCSC police Sgt. Steve James, who responded to the radio call from Cabriales.

"He was extremely lucky," James said of Cabriales. "In light of the amount of damage to the motorcycle and the car, you wouldn't believe anybody would've walked away from that accident. It was pretty bad." Both vehicles were totaled, said James.

Cabriales, who was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, was taken by ambulance to Dominican Hospital, where he was examined and released by 5 p.m., said James.

The motorist, who was on campus to donate his 1989 Ford Escort to Shakespeare Santa Cruz, was unfamiliar with the campus, mistook the intersection for a four-way stop, and expected Cabriales would stop, said James. The accident was investigated by the Santa Cruz Police Department because campus police do not investigate accidents involving their own officers. The motorist was sent a right-of-way violation, an infraction that carries a fine, said James.

Cabriales, who joined the UC Santa Cruz Police Department in February 2000, is off work until his injuries allow him to return. He joined the department's motorcycle patrol unit earlier this year.

Motorcycles are a valuable tool for traffic control and enforcement both on and off campus, said James. The department bought the 1989 Kawasaki KZ1000 Cabriales was riding from the UC Irvine Police Department when it ended its motorcycle program. The department intends to replace the vehicle.

The intersection of Hagar and Coolidge has been the scene of several accidents, and the campus has applied for a grant from the California Department of Transportation to install a traffic signal, said Wes Scott, UCSC director of Transportation and Parking Services. Grant recipients will be announced in late August, but Scott made sure Caltrans was notified of this most recent accident, which he said should improve the campus's chances of getting the $220,000 grant.

"I can't say I'm confident, but I will say I'm hopeful," said Scott, adding that construction of a traffic light at the intersection of Coolidge Drive and the turnoff to the Physical Plant will likely begin in September. "It will go out to bid in a couple of weeks," he said.



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