Four people riding in a golf cart were killed — including two juveniles — when an allegedly intoxicated man driving an SUV ran a stop sign at an intersection in Southeast Texas, police said.
Miguel Espinoza, 45, has been charged with four counts of intoxication manslaughter in the crash about 11:30 p.m. Saturday in Galveston, roughly 50 miles southeast of Houston, police said.
Espinoza was being held in Galveston County jail Sunday on $400,000 bond, police said. Jail records did not list an attorney for him.
Galveston police Sgt. Derek Gaspard said that after the SUV failed to stop, it struck a pickup truck, which then crashed into the golf cart that had six people aboard. He said that the golf cart and pickup were traveling in opposite directions through the intersection on a street that did not have a stop sign.
Police said the adult driver of the golf cart was pronounced dead at the scene while a woman and two juveniles on the golf cart were taken to a hospital, where they died. The two other passengers — an adult and a juvenile — were hospitalized Sunday in critical condition, police said.
Residents of the neighborhood told CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV that the accident was traumatizing.
“The image of them kids won’t get out of my mind at all,” Donna Bekkema told KHOU.
Espinoza, who lives in the Houston-area city of Rosenberg, and his passenger had minor injuries, police said. They were taken to the hospital and later released.
The occupants of the pickup were not injured, Gaspard said. Names and ages of the dead weren’t immediately released.
Gaspard said that he believes the golf cart, which was rented, was operating legally on the city street. He said members of two different families were riding on the golf cart at the time of the crash.
Galveston Mayor Craig Brown said golf carts have become “quite a prolific mode of transportation” for residents and visitors to the island resort area, which is located on the Gulf of Mexico.
Brown said that the city has in the past put in place ordinances aimed at make operating them safer, and will be considering additional ordinances at an upcoming City Council meeting.
“I was out last night,” Brown said. “The island was busy and there were golf carts — residential as well as rental golf carts — out all over these streets.”