A San Clemente, California, man has been released Monday, Jan. 23, and now faces DUI charges after a golf cart he was driving crashed East of Palm Desert, ejecting the passenger from the vehicle.
Golf carts, low-speed and neighborhood electric vehicles are ever-popular in beachside bedroom communities such as San Clemente, and thus, this may be a timely juncture to signal awareness about drinking and driving – even in a golf cart.
The crash occurred around 2:45 in the afternoon Monday. Authorities say Stephen Southam, 41, “made an unsafe turning movement” on a one-way street behind a string of homes and a golf course.
The passenger was taken to a hospital nearby for his injuries, which authorities say look not to be life-threatening.
Let this be a lesson to all
Greg Tammelin, co-owner of Echo Cart Services in San Clemente, says because the weight of low-speed vehicles is largely in the base, when they are overturned due to user error – though rare – “it would be under the roof, which is light compared to the rest of the cart. The roof structures are roughly 100 to 300 pounds – you’d get bruised, but you’d live.”
The Tammelin brothers’ establishment has been in San Clemente for 35 years, and Greg says in all that time he hasn’t seen repairs needed due to drunk-driving crashes, nor heard of golf cart DUI problems in town.
“Golf cart owners here are very responsible and cognizant to ride the great alleyway infrastructure here in San Clemente. I’ve only heard of a couple golf cart DUIs. People know to avoid driving golf carts on the main strip, El Camino Real.” Tammelin affirms the real danger is kids illegally driving their parents LSVs or driving the main roads and risking crashes with full-sized vehicles.
“If you’re an adult driving a golf cart, the only person you’re really going to hurt long term is yourself, if you get a DUI. Most people know it’s illegal to drink and drive in a golf cart; but it wouldn’t hurt to remind folks you risk a DUI if you have a few glasses of wine at Nick’s and still intend to drive home, even if you’re a few blocks away.”
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