Golf Cart Model in Vernon Fatality Subject of U.S. Lawsuit and Recall

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golf cart

From BC Golf News
With Files From the Edmonton Journal 

Vernon, BC – A golf cart being driven by an Edmonton businessman at Predator Ridge golf course in Vernon, B.C., that witnesses say struck a retaining wall before rolling six metres down an embankment and fatally injuring the driver Thursday, is apparently the same model of cart that is the subject of a lawsuit in the United States for alleged mechanical and design defects.

Glen Thordarson, 52, CEO of Milltech Millwork Ltd., died. His 44-year-old golfing partner from Calgary was injured and has since been released from hospital.

The pair were playing a round at Predator Ridge when their cart went down a five-metre embankment around 7:15 p.m. on the golf course.  Vernon RCMP spokesman Gord Molendyk said the cart was on the path with a rock wall on one side. “There is an indication they may have bumped the rock wall and then went sideways,” said Molendyk. A witness who saw the crash called for help.

Chicago lawyer Richard Burke told CBC News Friday that U.S. cart maker E-Z-GO, a subsidiary of Textron Inc., has a history of recalls and lawsuits over certain models. Burke is representing clients in a lawsuit against Textron after an Illinois man was killed when his cart accelerated suddenly and ran over him.

The CBC says Burke alleges the company’s RXV — the same model as the cart involved in the Vernon fatality — has a faulty accelerator pedal because “it allows debris and gravel, stones, sand, the type of things that are present on golf courses, to fall down around and immediately beneath the accelerator pedal.”

While the lawsuit alleges debris can interfere with the braking mechanism or cause it unexpectedly to accelerate, Textron denies liability in the lawsuit and none of the claims have been proven in court.

In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), E-Z-GO, of Augusta, Ga., earlier announced it was voluntarily recalling about 16,500 RXV Golf Carts. The hip restraints on the carts can detach at the base, posing a fall and injury risk to consumers. E-Z-GO has received 20 reports of hip restraints breaking, including nine reports of broken bones and abrasions from falls.

This recall involves electric and gasoline-powered Fleet RXV, Freedom RXV and RXV Shuttle 2+2 golf carts. The model names and the E-Z-GO logo are printed on the sides and front panel of all three vehicles. Serial numbers ranging from 9300001 to 9300188 and 5000000 to 5021328 are printed on a plate attached to the steering column, and the front and rear frames.

Predator Ridge Resort issued a statement about the incident confirming the death and calling it a “terrible tragedy.”

“The entire staff and organization of Predator Ridge Resort is saddened by this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the deceased,” the resort said a statement posted on its website.

Police say there are many unanswered questions in the incident. Investigators have returned to the golf course on Friday morning and the golf cart has been taken in for a mechanical examination. “There’s plenty of things that have to be covered here” noted Molendyk. “Was there health issues, was there mechanical issues, was there alcohol involvement? There’s a number of things the police and coroner’s service is going to be following up on.”

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