La Jolla Light crime and public-safety news July 4


Cause of death declared in recent scooter crash

At approximately 1:30 p.m. on June 23, police report, Arizona resident Brian Witzeman and a female friend were each riding a motorized scooter in the 3300 block of Ocean Front Walk in Pacific Beach. They collided into one another and fell onto the concrete walkway.

Lifeguards from the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department responded to the collision and provided medical aid to Witzeman and friend. Traffic Division officers responded and began conducting an investigation. Witzeman complained of chest pain and was transported to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla where he died.

The scooter riders were not wearing helmets.

At this point in the investigation, alcohol and/or drugs do not appear to be a factor in this collision. Police announced the preliminary cause of death to be “blunt force torso trauma.”

Police would like to remind community members and visitors to use caution when operating a motorized scooter. Since Jan. 1, 2019, there have been at least 15 reported serious injury collisions involving motorized scooters in the City. The injuries range from serious fractures to significant head injuries. Scooter riders should be aware of their surroundings and yield to pedestrians when appropriate.

The City implemented new regulations on motorized scooters that went into effect, Monday, July 1. Device operators will be required to reduce speeds in specific geo-fenced areas, including beach-area boardwalks. Use of motorized scooters is also regulated under the California Vehicle Code and the San Diego Municipal Code. To learn more, visit

Confessed UC San Diego ‘serial flasher’ is sentenced

A man who was arrested, and who plead guilty to exposing himself to seven women in eight separate incidents on the UC San Diego campus, was sentenced for indecent exposure and will be required to register as a sex offender and get counseling, said City Attorney Mara Elliott.

The man exposed his genitals to these women while posing as a jogger, wearing a hooded sweatshirt to conceal his identity. When arrested, the 34-year-old suspect admitted the indecent exposure to the police. He also admitted to police that he had been convicted of similar lewd acts in Wilmington, Delaware in 2014.

“Flashers often set out to shock, upset, or shame their victims, and their behavior can escalate to more serious sex crimes,” Elliott said. “My office prosecutes these cases vigorously, and seeks sex offender registration to warn the community of predators who may re-offend.”

In addition to 180 days of custody (which he has already served); three years of formal, supervised probation; a waiver of his Fourth Amendment rights against warrantless searches and seizure; and court fines and fees, the court also required the man to attend sex offender counseling and to register as a sex offender. Should he violate the terms of his probation, he could face additional custody of up to one year and six months in jail.

Fire experts underscore electric safety in pools, at marinas

With the arrival of summer and the July 4th holiday weekend, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reminds people about potential electrical hazards that exist in swimming pools, hot tubs and spas, onboard boats and in waters surrounding boats, marinas and launch ramps.

Most people have never heard of nor are they aware of electrical dangers posed in water environments such as electric shock drowning, and each year people are injured or killed from these hazards.

Electric shock drowning happens when marina or onboard electrical systems leak electric current into the water. The current then passes through the body and causes paralysis.

When this happens, a person can no longer swim and ultimately drowns.

Video available:

Tips for swimmers

• Never swim near a marina, dock or boatyard, or near a boat while it’s running.

• While in a pool, hot tub or spa, look out for underwater lights that are not working properly, flicker or work intermittently.

• If you feel a tingling sensation while in a pool, immediately stop swimming in your current direction. Try and swim in a direction where you had not felt the tingling. Exit the water as quickly as possible; avoid using metal ladders or rails. Touching metal may increase the risk of shock.

Tips for pool owners

• If you are putting in a new pool, hot tub or spa, be sure the wiring is performed by an electrician experienced in the special safety requirements for these types of installations.

• Have a qualified electrician periodically inspect and — where necessary — replace or upgrade the electrical devices or equipment that keep your pool, spa or hot tub electrically safe. Have the electrician show you how to turn off all power in case of an emergency.

• Make sure any overhead lines maintain the proper distance over a pool and other structures, such as a diving board. If you have any doubts, contact a qualified electrician or your local utility company to make sure power lines are a safe distance away.

Tips for boat owners

• Avoid entering the water when launching or loading a boat. Docks or boats can leak electricity into the water causing water electrification.

• Each year, and after a major storm that affects the boat, have the boat’s electrical system inspected by a qualified marine electrician to be sure it meets the required codes of your area, including the American Boat & Yacht Council. Make the necessary repairs if recommended.

Check with the marina owner who can also tell you if the marina’s electrical system has recently been inspected to meet the required codes of your area, including the National Electrical Code.

• Have ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) installed on the boat; use only portable GFCIs or shore power cords (including “Y” adapters) that are Marine Listed when using electricity near water. Test GFCIs monthly.

NFPA has additional resources for swimmers, boat and pool owners, including tip sheets, checklists and more that can be downloaded and shared at

Police Blotter

June 16

Fraud, 1000 block Opal St., noon

June 23

Petty theft, 1000 block Opal St., 9 p.m.

June 24

Felony vandalism ($400 or more), 8500 block Sugarman Drive, 6:30 p.m.

Petty theft, 8600 block Villa La Jolla Drive, 6:50 p.m.

June 25

Felony vehicle theft, 5200 block Cass St., 8 p.m.

June 27

Vehicle break-in/theft, 6900 block La Jolla Blvd., 4 p.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 3300 block Nobel Drive, 6:30 p.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft, 8700 block Villa La Jolla Drive, 6:30 p.m.

Residential burglary, 2300 block King Arthur Court, 7:30 p.m.

June 28

Vehicle break-in/theft, 400 block Retaheim Way, 3:09 a.m.

Commercial robbery (no weapon), 8800 block Villa La Jolla Drive, 8:29 p.m.

June 29

Drunk in public, 700 block Turquoise St., 2:01 a.m.

Felony vehicle theft, 7400 block Fay Ave., 1:30 p.m.

— Compiled by Ashley Mackin-Solomon from police and other reports