FROM STAFF REPORTS

A Statesville man was jailed overnight on charges that he crashed his vehicle into a golf cart near Fort Dobbs, killing a man and a young child. Four other people were seriously injured.

Austin Ray Harmon

The N.C. Highway Patrol announced the arrest of Austin Ray Harmon, 23, in a news release.

Emergency personnel responded to Fort Dobbs Road near Fort Dobbs Drive about 9:40 p.m. Monday for a crash involving a 2009 Honda Accord and a golf cart occupied by six people, according to the NCHP.

The Honda Accord, which was driven by Harmon, was traveling west on Ford Dobbs Road when it crossed the centerline and collided with a golf cart that was traveling east, according to the news release.

The driver of the golf cart, Michael Shane Marlowe, 39, and a passenger, Bentley Marlowe, 5, succumbed to their injuries at the scene.

Four passengers on the golf cart, ages 2, 13, 16, and 26, were critically injured and transported by medical helicopters to Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.

Harmon was not injured. He 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 Iredell County Detention Center records, he was being held without bond on Tuesday morning.

Fort Dobbs Road was closed in the area for approximately seven hours during the initial on-scene investigation. The investigation is ongoing.

19 thoughts on “Statesville man faces charges in crash that killed two, injured four on Fort Dobbs Road

  1. Edward Pryor says:

    Why was the golf cart on the road at 9:45 pm? Did it have a tag and insurance, as I understand is required in N.C.?

    • Robert Billings says:

      Better question: Why was the guy driving while impaired, which I understand is illegal in NC? Considering how screwed up our legal system is, the guy will likely get off on a technicality related to the cart.

    • Laura Johnson Pitts says:

      Finally someone says exactly what I was 🤔 thinking! What responsible adult would be out at dark on a golf cart with children who I’m sure we’re not in any kind of safety seat or belt. Even if Austin was impaired, which is dead wrong to drink and drive but I would go as far as to say that the golf cart with children, at night, on a road that cars travel a lot should if it’s not BE a crime and child endangerment. I’m sure Austin didn’t set out that night to crash into a golf cart and kill 2, injure 4. But let’s call it like it is; if the adults in the golf cart were responsible they would not have been on the road AT 9:40 p.m. I’m sorry this accident happened. It’s a tragedy for all involved. Let’s all remember that even the guy who hit the cart has family and are suffering greatly, and not just because of Mr. Harmon’s bad choice to drink and drive but because the adults that night also are guilty of poor decisions made to be out at night on a golf cart on the road with kids.

      • amen !!! one made the choice to drink, while 1 made the choice to put 5 people in danger.

        • Just an FYI the one that chose to drink and drive knew that once he got in that car there was a chance he would kill someone. My cousin and her fiance on the other hand didn’t set out to kill anyone. Do you think for one second that Mike would put his children in danger? Come one! Mike lost his life, my cousin Amy lost her right leg below the knew, broke the other leg in multiple places, broken bones and while she is fighting to recover her fiance and 5-year-old son are dead. Today her stepdaughter Jada passed away. She was 13 years old!! Amy’s 2-year-old baby girl had two broken legs and a broken jaw. Jada’s friend also had several severe injuries. How about you all back off and put the blame where it goes? On the drunken driver. We put Mike and Bentley to rest tomorrow. I just love how you all are acting like judge and jury and know nothing.

          • Praying for your family. You are right: A Drunk Driver changed the lives of so many. May you find Peace in your sorrow ❤

          • Thank you, Jenn. Jada’s mom has been a friend of our family for nearly 20 years, and I appreciate your reply. A big, loving, wonderful network of family and friends are grieving this loss. It’s easy to be a Monday morning quarterback when you haven’t played the game. Show some human decency.

      • In nc as long as on a secondary road and only on a 35 mph road, golf carts are legal to be on the road. Most people drive golf carts for fun — and it’s summer so they could have been having fun with their kids. The suspect’s priors show that he does not care.

        • Fun is driving in the dark in an open vehicle with very young children unsecured on a winding dark road where the speed limit is 45 mph in some spots? Did they do a tox screen on the father? Totally irresponsible thing to do. And what did I see today in Harmony on 901 no less (with a speed limit of 55)? People doing the exact same thing? Think people think!

      • This should not even be a question. It’s illegal to drink and drive period! This was his 5th offense. He shouldn’t even be out of jail period. It’s not illegal to ride a golf cart on the road especially if it had lights on it. Harmon crossed the center line into the opposite lane. If it had been a car he hit head on what would be your thoughts on that?

      • Bubba Liscious says:

        He chose to get drunk enough to drive and cross the center line just like when someone loads a gun then decides to kill people. Mass murder of 3 innocent people and countless pain and suffering for those that survive. Quit blaming the victim and blame the criminal!

  2. Horrific news to hear. There should be no leniency for vehicular homicide while driving impaired.

  3. Colin McGuffin says:

    If he had killed them with a gun, the left would be pushing the issue of gun control. Who is going to push the issue of alcohol control and high capacity vehicle regulation?

  4. If this family had been in a car, would there been people saying it was too late for them to be out at night?? SMH! He should not have been behind the wheel after consuming alcohol!!

  5. It doesn’t matter who is wrong or right in this situation. The fact is that there are people — children — who have died and their family along with the driver’s family that will have to live with this the rest of their lives. So instead of pointing fingers can’t a community come together to try and help heal the pain instead of making it worse.

  6. Nancy Thomas says:

    My sincere sympathy to all families affected by this tragic incident. My God grant you strength during your time of sorrow. Blessings to everyone.

  7. Jenn, we are grieving with you all. We are praying for you all as well. Don’t listen to any morons that post their idiotic opinions without regard to the additional pain/anger they cause with their lack of compassion. We were neighbors with Savannah and her family when we lived in the Hope Mills/Parkton area. Our girls were very close to Jada and Nevaeh for the years we lived in NC. We know what a kind and gentle man Mike was, and he was among the best of Daddies. Again, just ignore the morons that post their idiocy for others to see in public forums such as this. May God grant you all peace and healing.

  8. Kevin D Andersen says:

    You are very irresponsible to remove any fault from the drunk driver who crossed over the center line to hit this dear family. Your opinion of golf carts on the road has nothing to do with the guy being drunk and causing this accident. These drunk drivers hit cars head on and kill people all the time. Lets be real here and never take blame away from this drunk driver that forever changed the lives of many.

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