Debra Bedard, 58, suffered fatal injuries after she fell off a golf cart in which she was riding and on to two wine glasses. According to a news report in the Sacramento Bee, Bedard was riding in the golf cart driven by her boyfriend of 17 years, 57-year-old Richard Clarke, on olive-orchard land owned by the couple in Calaveras County. The couple was driving through the orchard late at night on June 2, 2017 on a public road when Clarke made a left turn. Bedard was holding two wine glasses.
She wasn’t able to maintain her balance and fell off the cart. The glasses she was holding broke underneath her and she died at the scene, fatally injured by shards of glass that shattered under her. Clarke was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, but was not suspected of causing Bedard’s fall. A coroner’s report will determine if she was also under the influence at the time.
Our deepest condolences go out to the family members and friends of Debra Bedard for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Tips for Safe Golf Cart Operation
While this appears to have been a freak accident, it is a somber reminder to us all that driving anything under the influence – whether it’s a car, a boat or a golf cart traveling at 5 mph – is not a good idea. Also, here’s something many people don’t know. You can be arrested for a DUI if you are driving a golf cart under influence, particularly, if you are operating it on a public roadway where other vehicles and pedestrians are using the road. It is illegal under California law to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Here are few things to watch out for when you are operating a golf cart:
- Do not drive recklessly. Obey all vehicle traffic laws and rules of the road.
- Never drive intoxicated or under the influence. Don’t drive a golf cart if you took over-the-counter or prescription drugs that could cause dizziness or drowsiness.
- Avoid distractions while operating a golf cart just as you would while driving a car.
- Golf carts should have seatbelts for drivers and all passengers. Everyone should be buckled up.
- Only carry the number of passengers for whom there are seats.
- Drivers and all passengers should keep all body parts inside the cart while the vehicle is in motion.
- Don’t allow anyone to ride standing up in the vehicle.
- Avoid sharp turns at maximum speed and drive straight up and down slopes to reduce the risk of passenger ejections of rollovers. Avoid excessive speed, sudden starts, stops and fast turns.