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Community mourns after driver hits golf cart, killing 3 and injuring others in Iredell County

The crash happened late Monday night on Fort Dobbs Road near Statesville.
Authorities say Austin Ray Harmon, 23, is facing charges tied to a deadly crash involving a...
Authorities say Austin Ray Harmon, 23, is facing charges tied to a deadly crash involving a golf cart that happened late Monday night near Statesville.(Source: Iredell County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 4:48 AM EDT
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IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Three people are now dead after a car hit a golf cart full of people in Iredell County, authorities said.

The crash happened late on June 13 on Fort Dobbs Road near Statesville. According to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, five people were in the golf cart.

The driver of the golf cart, 39-year-old Michael Shane Marlowe, and a 5-year-old passenger, Bentley Marlowe, were identified by highway patrol troopers as the two victims killed in the crash.

A week later, on June 20, officials confirmed that Jada Marlowe, 13, also died as a result of the collision.

The driver of the golf cart, 39-year-old Michael Shane Marlowe, and a 5-year-old passenger, Bentley Marlowe, were killed

“Last night around 9:40 p.m., the Highway Patrol and other first responders were called to this area for a motor vehicle crash involving a passenger car and a golf cart,” Trooper Jeffrey Swagger of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said last week. “Troopers arrived to find multiple injured; unfortunately two of those passengers on the golf cart were deceased and there were multiple transported to the hospital.”

As it was going down the road, a car driving in the opposite direction crossed the center line, hitting the cart, troopers said.

“A lot of people knew the Marlowes and it’s really affected a lot of people,” said family friend Susan Chambers. “It’s just an overwhelming heaviness, sorrow, for them and their families, for everybody.”

Authorities said the four other passengers were ages 2, 13, 16, and 26. They were taken by medical helicopters to Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.

“I just don’t think there are words to describe a situation like this,” Bentley’s former preschool teacher Kay Brawley said.

“You can feel the heaviness in the community around pretty much everybody,” family friend Sharon Chambers said. “It’s just an overwhelming heaviness of sorrow for them and their family.”

Tuesday night, friends, family, and loved ones attended a candlelight vigil at First Presbyterian Church.

Their hearts and minds with the Marlowes that they lost.

“I’m terrified for the family and them, sad, and I feel a lot of emotions because it just all of a sudden happened,” family friend Hunter Huffstickler said.

The driver of the 2009 Honda Accord, 23-year-old Austin Ray Harmon, of Statesville, was arrested and charged with driving while impaired, two counts of felony death by vehicle and three counts of felony serious injury by vehicle, according to the Highway Patrol. Bond was set at $250,000.

That investigation is ongoing.

“Impaired driving is dangerous for not only the driver but also everyone else on the highway, and then golf carts are a popular past time for folks to get out and enjoy their neighborhoods and community, but they can be dangerous when golf carts and cars occupy the same space, that can be dangerous for the occupants of the golf carts for sure,” Swagger said.

“We can feel the void today in this community,” said Paul Hill, associate pastor at Fairview Baptist Church.

Fairview Baptist is less than a mile from Fort Dobbs Road, and many in the congregation know the Marlowe family.

“Why this tragedy, why these things, why children, the only answer I can give is my faith in Christ. That’s what gives me hope, that’s what helps me to help others,” said senior pastor Dr. Scott Eanes.

Eanes says his church will be there to help the community mourn and heal from what’s happened, from the families of those involved to the emergency responders who were met with horrible images last night.

“The people who were on the scene last night had to see these things. We certainly want our doors to be open for them,” Hill added.

“He (Bentley) would tell you that ‘God’s in my heart’ and so I know, I know where he is,” preschool teacher Michelle Holt said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with expenses.

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