An 18-year-old Montgomery County college student has been arrested and warrants have been issued for 13 of his friends for allegedly pushing his broken down car into a public swimming pool in Wheaton early Sunday morning, Maryland-National Capital park police said yesterday.
The owner of the car, D. Ray Loflin of 2800 Randolph Rd., Wheaton, has been charged with destruction of public property, according to park police spokesman Tim Boyle.
Warrants have been issued for the arrest of Loflin's friends, who face the same charge, Boyle said. He said the maximum penalty for the charge is a $2,500 fine and three years in jail.
As a lark, the youths managed to move the nonfunctioning 1971 white Chevrolet Nova into the Olympic-sized Glenmont Swimming Pool, at 12621 Dalewood Dr., park police said.
And there it remained yesterday, with beer cans floating around it.
Boyle said park police received a report at about 7:30 a.m. Sunday that there was a car in the pool, which has been closed for the season but not yet drained.
Investigating officers Richard Riechard and Larry Kinna traced the ownership of the car to Loflin, who identified himself as a college student, but did not say which college, Boyle said.
"He told them he had recently bought the car, that it had stopped running and that he couldn't get it fixed," Boyle said.
The car had been marked 'abandoned' by police because it had been sitting so long on Edgemont Street, just off Randolph Road, about a mile from the pool, Boyle said.
Police said Loflin was partying with friends on Saturday night when the group decided to push the Nova into the pool.
"They did it for thrills," Boyle said.
Lt. Col. Clarence Edwards, chief of the Montgomery County division of the Maryland-National Capital Park Police, will ask the state's attorney's office to seek restitution for the damages, which are estimated at about $3,000, Boyle said.
He said that Chief Edwards "wants to get out the message that vandals have to pay the price for the damage they do."
Boyle said that officials have arranged for a crane to remove the car from the pool, where it is sitting in about three feet of water.
"They pushed the car into the shallow end of the pool," Boyle said. "It has water up to the steering wheel, and there are beer cans from the car floating around it."