November 28, 2023

Four people riding in a golf cart were killed – including two minors – when an allegedly drunk man driving an SUV ran a stop sign at an intersection in Southeast Texas, police said.

Miguel Espinoza, 45, was charged with four counts of intoxication manslaughter in the crash about 11:30 p.m. Saturday in Galveston, about 50 miles southeast of Houston, police said.

Espinoza was being held in the Galveston County Jail Sunday on $400,000 bond, police said. Jail records do not list an attorney for him.

Galveston police Sgt. Derek Gaspard said after the SUV failed to stop, it struck a pickup truck, which then struck the golf cart carrying six people. He said the golf cart and pickup were traveling in opposite directions through the intersection on a road 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 in the golf cart were taken to the 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 said CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV that the accident was traumatic.

“The image of their children will never leave my mind,” Donna Bekkema told KHOU.

Espinoza, who lives in the Houston-area town 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, Gaspar said. The names and ages of the dead were not immediately available.

Gaspard said he believes the golf cart, which was rented, was being operated legally on a city street. He said members of two different families were riding in the golf cart at the time of the crash.

Galveston Mayor Craig Brown said golf carts have become a “very productive mode of transportation” for residents and visitors to the island’s Gulf of Mexico resort area.

Brown said the city has passed ordinances in the past aimed at making them safer to operate 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 – residences as well as rental golf carts – all over these streets.”

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