Driver veers off Goeglein onto Hillcrest golf course

Durango police suspect driving under influence

A golfer tees off on the 15th hole at Hillcrest Golf Club on Thursday afternoon while personnel with Durango Fire & Rescue Authority and the Durango Police Department prepare to remove a car that came to rest on the course after veering off Goeglein Gulch Road. Enlarge photo

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald

A golfer tees off on the 15th hole at Hillcrest Golf Club on Thursday afternoon while personnel with Durango Fire & Rescue Authority and the Durango Police Department prepare to remove a car that came to rest on the course after veering off Goeglein Gulch Road.

A woman suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol drove through a chain-link fence Thursday at Hillcrest Golf Club 16 hours before the first tee time for the Navajo Trail Open.

No one was injured, including the driver of the car, said Officer Rob Haukeness with the Durango Police Department.

The crash occurred about 4:20 p.m. on Goeglein Gulch Road, the stretch of road that runs past the western side of Hillcrest Golf Club.

The woman was not immediately identified. She was being questioned by police Thursday night.

Police said she was driving a white four-door Subaru Forester southbound when she drifted off the right side of the road for about 170 feet before dropping down a 22-foot embankment.

The vehicle rolled onto its passenger side and went halfway through a fence, taking down part of a tree on the golf course. The car came to rest about 10 feet from a cart path near the tee box for the 15th hole.

Golfers who witnessed the accident helped the woman out of the car. She then left the scene on foot, Haukeness said.

“She ran up here and took off on foot, so (Fort Lewis College police) caught up with her down the road,” he said.

Police charged the woman with careless driving and suspicion of driving under the influence, he said.

A group of golfers was only a few feet away from where the car crashed through the fence.

“You can see the tree lying down on the path, so we’re lucky no one got whacked,” Haukeness said.

Sgt. John Ball said FLC police administered a breath test.

“She blew more than 0.25,” he said, “more than triple the legal limit.”

Ball said because the woman was local, she probably would be cited and released.

The accident will not disrupt play at the Navajo Trail Open, the only pro golf tournament at the municipal course, said Guy Begay, assistant golf professional at Hillcrest.

“It did catch a couple of players off-guard,” he said.

It is not the first time a car has crashed through that section of fence, Begay said. It happens about once every five years, he said, usually during the winter.

“It’s usually under tough driving conditions, not during the middle of the summer during the middle of the day,” he said.

Cathy Brewer, of Big Bear, Calif., who was playing the Navajo Trail Open on Thursday, said the car looked a little beat up for being at a golf course.

“Usually, if you see a car on the golf course, you win it if you get a hole in one,” she said before teeing off on the par-3 15th hole. “But this is getting pretty cheap.”

shane@durangoherald.com

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