Golf car accident deaths turn focus to speeders - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

Golf car accident deaths turn focus to speeders

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Posted: Monday, June 13, 2011 12:30 pm | Updated: 12:30 am, Thu Jun 30, 2011.

After several golf car accidents — two resulting in deaths — the leaders of the Sun City West Sheriff’s Posse and the Recreation Centers of Sun City West governing board are proposing a community watch program to catch speeders on the streets.

RCSCW Board President Dave Moeller and Posse Commander Tony Sambol said they’re urging people to report drivers to posse members, who will forward them to the sheriff’s office.

“If you see somebody speeding through Sun City West and not using caution, safely write down the number, then let’s identify them,” Moeller said.

Moeller said he felt he needed to do something after Barbara Marine, a member of the Deer Valley Women’s Club, died June 2 in golf car accident.

Marine, who golfed with Moeller’s wife, was driving home from Grandview when a motorist in a pickup truck collided with the golf car.

“She was somebody that we knew personally,” he said. “Anytime this happens it just compounds the pain and rather than complain I wanted to find the solution.”

In addition to Marine’s death, there have been two other serious collisions involving golf cars in Sun City West in two months, including one other fatality.

For this reason, Moeller talked with Sambol about a program and hopes residents get on board and report any unsafe driving.

“You can’t be complacent anymore as a driver in a regular car or golf car,” he said. “We really all have to be more defensive drivers.”

Sambol said the Posse is on board with the program, adding the organization will continue to patrol streets with four vehicles.

MCSO also has deputies who patrol through the community.

“We’re doing everything that we can, but it’s also up to the people driving to really maintain a safe atmosphere,” Sambol said.

In a letter to written to the Daily News-Sun, Moeller said Sambol “is willing to see if this approach will make a difference and a representative of the sheriff’s office said they will support the effort.”

“I can’t say what we can do to really correct the problem, but everyone should be using some common sense because it’s a retirement community,” Sambol said.

In a new safety video posted on yourwestvalley.com, Maricopa County of Department Transportation officials are urging drivers and golf car drivers to be safe and respect one another.

MCDOT spokeswoman Roberta Crowe said the video is a part of the department’s revamped website, and the department wanted to get the word out about the video even more since the Sun City West accidents.

“I know that this really would be very beneficial for everyone involved,” Crowe said.

The three-minute video begins with: “What do unicorns, dragons, a free lunch and golf cart lanes have in common? They don’t exist and never have.” It discusses out why there are no such things as special “golf car lanes” and lists several safety tips for operating these vehicles on the roadway.

“This is also a good thing for people who don’t live in retirement communities to look at, so when they go into this area they’ll have more awareness about this in regards to traffic safety,” Crowe said.

Mitchell Vantrease can be reached at 876-2526 or email mvantrease@yourwestvalley.com.

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