While most golf carts are just as safe as traditional automobiles in single-car accidents, the consequences can be severe when a vehicle as large as an SUV collides with a golf cart. Because of this, the best golf carts to buy for driving on or alongside public roads are those that have all of the safety equipment required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for street-legal vehicles.
Cadillac SUV Crosses Lanes
According to the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), 58-year-old David Martin McCurry was driving his vehicle with a passenger, Valanna S. McCurry, 64, in the inside eastbound lane on County Road 466A where it intersects with Morse Boulevard. He was stopped for the red light at the intersection, and when it turned green, he continued through. However, shortly afterward, McCurry suffered a medical emergency that caused him to lose consciousness.
The vehicle, a large Cadillac SUV, swerved into the outside lane, jumped over the curb and onto the shoulder of the road where it crashed into a traffic sign. The SUV was neither stopped nor slowed by the sign, but rather, it accelerated as it proceeded to travel into the lane for pedestrians and golf carts.
Kevin Bruce, a 62-year-old resident of The Villages, heard the SUV crash into the speed-limit sign as he was traveling east in the golf-cart lane, which is on the south side of CR 466A. When he looked up, he saw the runaway vehicle speeding towards him, and he swerved at the last minute. The SUV clipped his passenger-side rearview mirror, but he escaped uninjured.
As the SUV continued to speed down the path, it struck another golf cart from behind, throwing the driver and passenger, Nancy Von Nostitz and Marsha K. Eger, out of the vehicle. The Cadillac stayed with the golf cart for some distance, pushing it over another curb and into an area with shrubs and trees. The front of the golf cart then struck a pedestrian, Brian David Williams, leaving him tangled in the shrubs.
Two Killed, Two Injured
When emergency responders reached the scene of the accident, Williams was taken by ambulance to Ocala Regional Medical Center where his condition was labeled serious. McCurry, the driver of the SUV, also sustained serious injuries, and he was taken to The Villages Regional Medical Center. Valanna McCurry sustained no injuries during the incident.
When responders reached the two women thrown from their golf cart, Von Nostitz was found to have suffered fatal injuries, and she died at the scene. Eger was still alive, but she died shortly after arriving at Ocala Regional Medical Center. Neither of the victims was wearing safety belts at the time of the collision.
Nancy Von Nostitz was a 66-year-old retired elementary school principal from La Fargeville, New York, who had been a resident of The Villages since 2013. At the school where she was principal, she also served as the school psychologist and was the chair of the Committee on Special Education.
Eger was a 68-year-old friend of Von Nostitz who was visiting from Trumansburg, New York. She was a spokesperson for Genesis HealthCare of New York in Watertown. At one time, she worked at Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca, New York, and had earned a master’s degree in world music from the University of Limerick in Ireland.
Best Golf Carts to Buy for The Villages
The accident on February 20 at The Villages was far from the first to involve golf carts. Although the FHP and local law-enforcement agencies in Florida do not keep statistics on golf-cart accidents, the property owners association (POA) at The Villages, reports that 12 golf-cart-related fatalities have occurred in the community from 2007 to 2013. The POA continually warns residents and visitors about the potential dangers and states that the best golf carts to buy are those with all of the safety features of automobiles.
Three days after this accident, an 81-year-old man who was not wearing a seatbelt was ejected from his golf cart as the result of a single-vehicle accident. Just two weeks before this incident, a golf-cart driver suffered several broken ribs while taking evasive action to avoid a collision with a car that cut him off on Morse Boulevard.