GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – An 18-year-old girl is dead after police said she fell from a golf cart in Gaston County Monday morning.
The Gaston County Police Department said the incident occurred around 12:30 a.m. Monday, Sept. 5, on Lane Road.
They said a group of teens were drinking while driving and riding in a golf cart.
Gabby Eliese Carrigan, 18, fell from the cart, sustaining a head injury, and died the next day.
The driver, identified as Derek Tyler Helms, 19, now faces DWI, involuntary manslaughter, and reckless driving charges. He and others rushed to Carrigan, who was unconscious and not breathing, to a home two miles down the road on Briarwood Court where they called the police.
“We are seeing an increase of golf carts in and around our highways and unfortunately, that has resulted in crashes involving vehicles and golf carts as well,” Trooper Jeffrey Swagger said with NC State Highway Patrol.
Earlier this week, Queen City News aired a special report about how popular off-course golf carts have become, and how the regulations vary depending on the municipality.
“North Carolina allows golf carts on highways only when an ordinance has been enacted by a local municipality or government allowing golf carts on the streets or highways in their specific area,” Trooper Swagger said.
In June, a 5-year-old, 13-year-old, and their father died in a collision with an alleged drunk driver on Fort Dobbs Road in Statesville. QCN discovered the golf cart wasn’t legally authorized to be on the road.
Unfortunately, the same goes for this most recent tragedy in Gaston County. Police said the golf cart wasn’t registered at all, saying alcohol was also a factor in what occurred.