Nowadays it seems everyone is zipping along on golf carts, there are whole communities where millions of people use them safely. As Inside Edition reports, with that popularity comes potential dangers that most of us never think about.
In startling videos, some knuckleheads can be seen using golf carts to smash into their buddies. The reckless stunts have gone viral and are being called the “hottest prank in sports.”
But even when they’re not used for a prank, the carts can be treacherous if not driven properly.
In the last two years, golf cart accidents led to an estimated 35,000 trips to the emergency room, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Tim Siegel’s son, Luke, suffered severe brain trauma when he and a friend were playing in one that flipped over in 2015.
“My message to every parent and every child paying attention to this is that golf carts are dangerous,” Tim told Inside Edition. “They are extremely dangerous.”
In a 911 call from the scene of Luke’s incident, the caller says, “Some kids were doing doughnuts in a golf cart and it flipped over on him and he's bleeding really, really bad!”
Luke survived, but now spends his days in a wheelchair since the accident.
“Our communication is through eye blinks and moving of the tongue,” the distraught dad said.
Shelly Osterhout, 51, was killed after she was thrown from a golf cart driven by Timothy Foxworth.
It happened in July at The Villages, a sprawling retirement community of 51,000 people near Orlando, Fla., where nearly everyone gets around with a golf cart.
Osterhout and Foxworth were riding in a golf cart on their way home from a bar when Foxworth suddenly made a U-turn, and she was thrown from the cart, according to police.
Foxworth allegedly dragged Osterhout into the bushes and fled the scene. A passerby called 911 to report the incident.
Foxworth was arrested and charged with DUI manslaughter and fleeing the scene. He has pleaded not guilty.
Her son, Jacob, says Foxworth is a “coward,” adding that people don’t realize how dangerous golf carts can be.
Foxworth didn’t have anything to say when Inside Edition’s Chief Investigative Correspondent Lisa Guerrero caught up with him.
“Do you have anything to say to Shelly’s family?” she asked. “Sir, were you driving drunk in that golf cart?”
While on a special golf cart safety patrol in The Villages, Sumter County Sheriff's Deputy Michael DeArmond told Guerrero there are 50,000 golf carts in the community.
During a ride along with Guerrero, he gave one guy a $100 ticket because he wasn’t wearing a seat belt in the cart. If you drive more than 20 mph you have to wear a seat belt, Deputy DeArmond said.
At another high-traffic area in The Villages, Inside Edition watched as driver after driver ran a stop sign. Deputy DeArmond gave out more tickets.
“My message to every parent and every child paying attention to this is that golf carts are dangerous,” said Siegel.
Since Luke’s injury, Siegel has created The Team Luke Foundation to help raise awareness about traumatic brain injuries.
“For the rest of my life, this is what I’m going to be doing,” Siegel explained. “I have two missions: to be the best father... and also to be the best advocate to help families.”
Many celebrities, including Luke’s favorite athlete, Super Bowl-winning quarterback Drew Brees, have rallied to the cause.
“I’m thinking about you praying for you always. Stay strong. Keep rolling. One step at a time,” the New Orleans Saints star said in a video message to Luke.
While Luke’s road to recovery may be a long one, his faithful father refuses to let a golf cart accident rob him of his only son.
“I love you,” he tells Luke over and over again. “You’re Daddy’s boy.”