Joyrider runs roughshod at Petco Park until grounds crew intervenes

The man drove doughnuts on the outfield, which was covered in dirt at the time in apparent preparation for the installation of the grass playing surface.


A driver took an SUV for a joyride on the field at Petco Park, tearing up the dirt surface with “doughnuts” before the grounds crew blocked his exit long enough for police to arrive and capture him, authorities said.

It happened just before 10 a.m. Friday at the Padres’ downtown ballpark, according to San Diego police and a witness who recorded part of the incident from his office overlooking the field.

Ryan Carlson was on the phone when he first noticed the SUV enter the ballpark through a tunnel in left field. He initially believed it was a member of the grounds crew, which he said has been working on the field throughout the week.


“And then he just whips out and starts doing doughnuts,” Carlson said in a phone interview Friday.

Carlson watched the SUV driver tear tracks across the outfield, which was covered in leveled dirt in what appeared to be preparation for installing the grass playing surface.

Crews have been getting Petco Park ready for baseball — despite the ongoing MLB lockout — after it hosted monster truck rallies and dirt bike races in January.

Resourceful members of the grounds crew drove a small forklift across the entrance of the left field tunnel, blocking the SUV’s only exit, Carlson.

“After about a minute, he came to a stop, and a bunch of the grounds crew guys made their way to the car and did like a citizens’ arrest,” Carlson said. “It happened peacefully, wasn’t aggressive, at least as far as I saw. They walked him over and sat him down.”

One clip recorded by Carlson shows three employees standing around the driver, who is seated in the dirt as security personnel jog onto the field.


“It was totally surreal,” Carlson said.

San Diego police provided few details of the incident, but confirmed that “someone drove onto the field of Petco Park and caused some damage,” according to an email from Lt. Adam Sharki.

Officers arrested the driver for felony vandalism, Sharki said. He was not identified.