Officials at the Beltsville Agriculture Research Center (BARC) are still trying to decide what to do about an entry gate that was rammed and broken about six weeks ago, especially since the area is due for some changes anyhow.
A motorist plowed through the gate at the intersection of Powder Mill and Entomology roads. The gate was severely damaged and apparently the vehicle was too, but it was still able to get away from the scene.
"I don't think they went through it unscathed," said Sandy Miller Hays, Agricultural Research Service spokesperson, who reported staff found a lot of car parts near where the collision occurred.
Hays says they think someone may have been joy riding on BARC grounds. It has a number of access roads, she said, and speculated the driver was able to go on back roads and get in.
The gate required an access card for entry, but getting out was automatic.
The driver may not have noticed the gate or didn't wait for it to open and plowed right through it, Hays said. For some reason, he or she was not aware if they just pulled up to it, it would open, she guessed.
BARC Area Director Joe Spence said the gate had not been repaired yet because it may figure into some planned changes.
The gate is near BARC's Bee Research Lab, which will be moving to building 306, directly off Powder Mill Road; so the need for the Entomology Road gate is not the same as it has been, according to Spence.
The Entomology and Powder Mill roads intersection will still have a gate, according to Spence, but BARC has not determined whether it needs to be electronically controlled.