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Woman critically injured at campaign event

Golf cart’s brakes failed at Graves fundraiser with 5 people on board

POSTED: August 7, 2010 7:07 p.m.

A private campaign event for 9th District U.S. Rep. Tom Graves in a Gainesville subdivision was marred by a golf cart accident that left a woman in critical condition Friday night.

The accident occurred about 7:30 p.m. at a home in the 3700 block of Harbour Point subdivision where about 100 supporters had gathered at an event for Graves.

One of those supporters, 68-year-old Mark Marlowe, said five people were on the golf cart, which was shuttling people to the event, when the cart's brakes failed on a steep hill.

"The young lady driving it did a great job of basically saving all of our lives," Marlowe said.

Marlowe said the driver of the cart chose to sideswipe some parked cars in order to get the cart stopped rather than careening to the bottom of the hill. He estimated the cart was going 35 mph or more down the hill when it crashed, spinning then overturning and sending the occupants flying out. Marlowe broke a bone in his shoulder.

A female passenger on the cart was seriously injured and was airlifted to Atlanta Medical Center, where she remained in critical condition, Graves' campaign manager, Tim Baker, said. He declined to identify her, citing privacy concerns.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved," Baker said. "It was just a tragic accident that has shaken everyone. Right now our focus is on them getting better."

Besides Marlowe, two other people were taken by ambulance to Northeast Georgia Medical Center. One woman, a Graves campaign employee, remained hospitalized there Saturday, Baker said. He also declined to name her.

Georgia State Patrol officials said Saturday that the accident report was not complete and could not provide the names of the people involved in the crash.

Baker said Graves's wife, Julie, led supporters in a prayer for the crash victims, and the event ended after the streets were cleared of emergency vehicles.

"Tom left when the ambulances did," Baker said.

Graves spent most of Friday night at Northeast Georgia Medical Center checking on the injured, Marlowe said.



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