Golf cart death in Galveston

GALVESTON — Four people aboard a golf cart died after a suspected drunk driver ran through a stop sign on Saturday night, a “horrible” incident that Galveston Island leaders say will spur them on to review the safety protocol for the popular tourist mode of transport.

Two adults and two children died in the wreckage of three vehicles at 11:35 p.m. Saturday when the driver of a black Hyundai SUV heading east on Avenue R failed to stop at 33rd Street and hit the golf cart and a black Dodge pickup truck, according to Galveston Police.

The adult driver of the golf cart died at the scene, police said. Three other people in the golf cart – a woman and two children – later died in hospital. A fifth and sixth occupant, an adult and a child, remained in critical condition on Sunday.

“This particular crash is horrific,” Galveston Mayor Craig Brown said. “But we’ve had a number of other accidents recently with golf carts which thank goodness have not resulted in any fatalities. We need to review this as they are increasing on the streets. I don’t know what we can TO DO.

Hyundai driver Miguel Espinoza, 45, of Rosenberg, is being held at the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office instead of posting $400,000 bond.

The identity of the victims has not been released. Police did not immediately confirm whether the victims, who belong to two different families, were from Galveston or out of town.

The deaths came just over a year after a Galveston City Council ordinance changed golf cart regulations. The new ordinance said it was formulated in response to the increasing use of golf carts in the city, “increasing the risk of accidents and injuries”. Changes included requiring all occupants to wear seat belts and restricting the use of golf carts to the right lane of multi-lane streets.

Other changes focused on sellers who rent golf carts, raising their permit fees and requiring them to provide renters with information about golf cart regulations, including where they are not allowed. to drive and the fact that they have to stay in the right lane.

The golf cart was a rental, Galveston Police Department Detective Derek Gaspard said.

New golf cart rental businesses have opened in recent years, particularly after the city lowered speed limits on parts of Seawall Boulevard in an effort to make the street safer for pedestrians, Brown said. The city council would discuss golf cart safety again this week, Brown said.

While the Daily News reported at the time that a proposed version of the order included a night driving ban, such language was not included in the version that was ultimately approved. The omission caused confusion, the Daily News showed, due to a state law stipulating that golf carts could be used on the streets with a maximum speed limit of 35 miles per hour during the day.

Golf carts must have headlights, taillights, turn signals, brake lights and side reflectors in order to receive a permit.