Four people driving a golf cart, including two minors, were killed when an allegedly intoxicated man driving an SUV passed a stop sign at an intersection in Southeast Texas, police said.
Miguel Espinoza, 45, has been charged with quadruple manslaughter by drunkenness in the crash around 11:30 p.m. Saturday in Galveston, about 50 miles southeast of Houston, police said.
Espinoza was held in Galveston County Jail on a $400,000 bond on Sunday, police said. The prison records did not list a lawyer for him.
Galveston Police Sgt. Derek Gaspard said that after the SUV failed to stop, he hit a pickup truck, which then collided with the golf cart with six people on board. He said the golf cart and pickup were traveling in opposite directions through the intersection on a street with no stop sign.
Police said the adult driver of the golf cart was pronounced dead at the scene, while a woman and two minors on the golf cart were taken to a hospital, where they died. The two other passengers – an adult and a minor – were hospitalized in critical condition on Sunday, police said.
Local residents told CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV that the accident was traumatic.
“The image of those children will not disappear from my mind at all,” Donna Bekkema told KHOU.
Espinoza, who lives in the Houston city of Rosenberg, and his passenger suffered minor injuries, police said. They were taken to hospital and later released.
The pickup’s occupants were not injured, Gaspard said. Names and ages of the dead were not immediately released.
Gaspard said he believes the rented golf cart was operating legally on the city street. He said members of two different families were riding the golf cart at the time of the crash.
Galveston Mayor Craig Brown said golf carts have become “quite a productive mode of transportation” for residents and visitors to the island resort, which sits on the Gulf of Mexico.
Brown said the city has put in place ordinances in the past to make its operation safer, and will consider additional ordinances at an upcoming city council meeting.
“I was out last night,” Brown said. “The island was busy and there were golf carts — both residential and rental golf carts — on these streets.”