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UCSB Chancellor Yang faced hit-and-run allegations, CHP investigation hit dead end

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry Yang faced hit-and-run allegations from a student who alleged that the chancellor was driving the car that hit him while he was skateboarding through a campus crosswalk, but the California Highway Patrol could not determine what happened and did not recommend any charges.

Madden Cade Westland, 19, was skateboarding across the crosswalk of Channel Islands Road just south of UCen Road on the evening of May 16 when he was allegedly struck by a car, according to the CHP report obtained by News Channel 3-12.

Westland suffered minor injuries from the accident.

The car, described as "possibly being a tan, light brown, or silver Cadillac-type vehicle," fled the scene after hitting Westland, the report stated.

The CHP report said that Westland "had a clear view of the driver and his passenger and positively identified them" as Yang and his wife, Dilling Yang.

The university said the accident was not a hit-and-run, but that it took the allegations of the skateboarder seriously and immediately referred the matter to the CHP for a "thorough and unbiased investigation," according to UCSB's statement to News Channel 3-12.

UCSB said it requested an outside independent investigation and defended that decision as "appropriate."

"The chancellor and his wife were surprised to learn of the allegations and they have always maintained that their vehicle did not collide with anyone," the statement, provided by spokeswoman Kiki Reyes on behalf of the university, said.

As part of the investigation, a CHP officer went to the Yang residence and located two cars: a Buick Lacrosse and a Buick LeSabre, and confirmed that the Yangs had no other vehicles registered to their name.

The report stated that the investigating officer "did not observe any dents, scratches, scuffs, or streaks which would indicate a person rolling over the hood and or either vehicle being involved in a crash" and that officers were "unable to locate any damages or any other physical evidence to either vehicle that indicated a collision occurred or a body rolled across the surface of the hood."

Additionally, the CHP report found that Westland was unsure which of the two vehicles was the one that struck him. However, Westland said that he was sure it was Yang and his wife in the car, as he "looked her up" online to make sure, the report stated.

"I actually don't want anybody to get in trouble if it wasn't him obviously," Westland said, per the CHP report.

The CHP determined that because of Westland's inconsistent statements, the lack of video surveillance, the lack of independent witnesses, and the lack of physical evidence, it was unable to substantiate the claims that Yang was involved in the accident and that the office would not file any charges.

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office also confirmed to News Channel 3-12 that it never received a report on the incident.

The university claimed that Yang cooperated with the investigation into the allegations and has done so "professionally and appropriately," but the CHP told News Channel 3-12 that there was no written statement provided by other parties.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
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Jade Martinez-Pogue

Jade Martinez-Pogue is the Assignment Editor and web journalist at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Jade, click here


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