Man involved in golf cart-motorcycle accident charged with careless driving

A Chaska man who was driving a golf cart that collided with a motorcycle driven by Dr. Eric Lefebvre has been charged in Wright County District Court with careless driving, according to a complaint released by the Wright County Attorney’s Office.

Lefebvre, 51, Buffalo, was pronounced dead at the scene of the July 19 accident. Lefebvre was wearing a helmet. The driver and lone occupant of the golf cart, Korie Schiel, 39, was treated and released at the scene for minor injuries.

According to the complaint, Schiel was charged by summons. If convicted of the misdemeanor offense, he faces a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine or combination of both.

The complaint filed against Schiel states the following:

On July 19, 2014, at approximately 3:39 p.m. a Wright County Sheriff’s Office deputy responded to a crash involving a motorcycle and a golf cart that happened on County Road 2, also known as Rhoades Avenue, just north of 46th Street N.W. in French Lake Township.

The complaint stated the deputy observed a golf cart in the ditch west of County Road 2 just north of the driveway for the residence at 4695 Rhoades Avenue N.W. Deputy Terry Klaers observed a motorcycle in the southbound lane of travel. Both vehicles were damaged significantly as a result of the crash.

There was significant damage to the left rear portion of the golf cart. The force of the crash caused the seat and gas tank to be separated from the frame of the motorcycle, the complaint stated.

The deputy observed a man, later identified as Lefebvre, wearing a motorcycle suit and a helmet lying face down on the roadway in the southbound lane.

Rescue personnel from South Haven Rescue and paramedics with Allina arrived at the scene of the crash. According to the complaint, the Wright County Sheriff’s Office deputy, South Haven Rescue personnel, and Allina paramedics collectively engaged in life saving efforts but those efforts were unsuccessful. Lefebvre was pronounced dead at the scene.

The deputy spoke with Schiel about how the crash occurred. The complaint alleges Schiel told the deputy he was traveling north on County Road 2 and was driving on the right shoulder portion of the roadway. Schiel said he was checking on his mother’s property and indicated her property is located on the west side of County Road 2 next to where the crash occurred.

Schiel said he made a left turn from the shoulder to cross over County Road 2 in order to enter the driveway to his mother’s property. Schiel said in the process of making this left turn, he saw an oncoming motorcycle but did so at a point too late to avoid the crash between the motorcycle and his golf cart.

According to the complaint, Schiel said the impact between the vehicles caused the motorcycle and Lefebvre to flip over the golf cart.

Based upon the defendant’s statement, evidence present at the crash scene, and a crash scene investigation performed by the Wright County Sheriff’s Office, it was determined that the motorcycle driven by Lefebvre was traveling north on County Road 2 following behind the golf cart driven by Schiel, who made a left turn and pulled directly in front of the motorcycle driven by Lefebvre.

The complaint states Lefebvre did not have an opportunity to avoid the golf cart and crashed into the left rear of the golf cart. He sustained blunt force injuries to his chest and torso. The injuries sustained by Lefebvre as a result of the crash caused by the defendant resulted in his death, according to the complaint.

The complaint also states Schiel drove in a negligent and careless manner by turning the cart directly in front of Lefebvre’s motorcycle, starting to cross the roadway without looking for oncoming vehicles and without making sure it was safe.

At the location where the crash occurred, Schiel was not authorized to operate a motorized golf cart on the roadway. The golf cart driven by the defendant was not displaying a slow-moving vehicle emblem.

According to an online background court, criminal and traffic records search, Schiel has a long record of vehicle-related violations, including two convictions for drunken driving. His record also shows a conviction for driving without a valid license, speeding and careless driving.

Capt. Todd Hoffman with the Wright County Sheriff’s Office reported earlier that golf carts are considered low-powered vehicles according to state law. He said cities, townships and counties can adopt ordinances allowing the use of such low-powered vehicles on roadways that they control,” Hoffman said. “We do have some cities in Wright County allowing such use of golf carts. In this area, the county does not have a low-power vehicle ordinance. By statute, it’s not allowed on a roadway. They are allowed to cross a roadway, but they can’t travel along roads.”

Contact Tim Hennagir at tim.hennagir@ecm-inc.com

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