CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA — A woman was arrested and charged with a DUI after hitting five large planters at the edge of Carpentier Parkway with her Toyota Highlander around 10:30 p.m. on May 11.
The 24-year-old Carmel Valley woman, whose name hasn’t been released, was traveling south on San Elijo Avenue at an unknown speed. She claimed her dog jumped out of the SUV’s window, causing her to swerve into the park, according to Sheriff’s Deputy Oscar Butler.
Butler said that a dog wasn’t found near the scene.
The vehicle came to rest atop a planter, front wheels in the air. A bystander called the Sheriff’s Department and helped the woman and a passenger out of the SUV. No injuries were sustained during the incident.
The damage to the park is estimated at $5,000. Butler said the woman is being asked to pay the full amount.
Linda Lee, the director of the park, said that she was “heartbroken” when she saw the aftermath of the wreck.
“I sat there and cried,” Lee said, adding that she’s headed efforts to restore the park for more than 12 years.
Four planters weighing more than 1,000 pounds were either damaged or smashed altogether, and a 5,000-pound planter was tipped over. Additionally, rare plants were trampled and uprooted.
Lee said the woman has insurance, and she’s hopeful the park will be paid the entire amount. Meanwhile, she said donations to the park’s general fund are always welcome.
Residents can contribute time or money at Cardiff 101’s Spring Fling, a celebration of sustainable plants, May 18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The annual event was planned before the crash.
Those who can’t attend the event can donate at cardiff101.com. Lee said that 100 percent of donations will go to the park.
Also, donors can sponsor a brick for $65 or a paver for $180 at Carpentier Parkway.
Once a vacant lot, the spot has transformed into a hub for gardening. Lee said she wants it to remain that way — she would especially appreciate a hand in sprucing up the park at Spring Fling.
“I’m asking Cardiff for help,” Lee said. “I know the people here can turn a negative into a positive.”