Michael Marlowe, Statesville, North Carolina dad and 5 year old son killed after Austin Ray Harmon wrong way driver crashes into their golf cart.
A local community has been left reeling when a Iredell County father and his five-year-old son were killed after a car swerved onto the wrong side of the road and crashed into their golf cart, North Carolina authorities said.
Michael Marlowe, 39, and his young son Bentley were identified as the two victims in Monday night’s collision.
Austin Ray Harmon, 23, was taken into custody, with police suspecting the wrong way driver was impaired when he swerved his vehicle into the wrong lane.
Micheal and Bentley died at the scene but Harmon was not injured.
Four other passengers, ages 26, 16, 13 and 2, were seriously hurt and taken by helicopter to hospitals in Charlotte and Winston-Salem, troopers said.
‘Golf carts are a fun recreational but can also be tragic …’
Marlowe, of Statesville, N.C was driving east in the golf cart when Harmon, also of Statesville, who was coming West in his 2009 Honda Accord, crossed a centerline, and struck the cart, according to the police.
‘Golf carts are a fun recreational activity for folks to get out and go for a ride, but when that mixes with a collision with a vehicle the end is often tragic,’ State Trooper Jeffrey Swagger told WSOC-TV.
Harmon now faces charges of driving while impaired, two counts of felony death by vehicle, and three counts of felony serious injury by vehicle.
His bond was set at $250,000.
Marlowe owned a local auto body shop and was described by friends as generous and helpful.
JR White, a family friend, said Marlowe once helped him with his car, even when he didn’t have the money.
‘[He was] just a good person to know,’ White said.
Community left reeling
Bentley’s teacher, Anita Craver, described Bentley to WRAL.com as a ‘very sweet, sweet boy.’
‘[He was] just a child who really got along well with all of his peers and [brought] just a little bit of sunshine every day,’ she said.
Loved ones gathered for a vigil held for the father and son at their church Tuesday night.
‘You can feel the heaviness in the community around pretty much everybody,’ Sharon Chambers, a family friend told WBTV.
‘It’s just an overwhelming heaviness of sorrow for them and their family,’ she said.
Local churches are opening their doors for counsel to the first responders who bore witness to the crash.
‘Why this tragedy, why these things, why children, the only answer I can give is my faith in Christ’ pastor Dr. Scott Eanes told WBTV.
‘That’s what gives me hope, that’s what helps me to help others,’ he said.