South Berwick police said Thursday that alcohol appears to have been involved in a fatal golf cart crash Wednesday at a golf course in town.

Police have identified the victim as Eric Sullivan, 27, of Stoughton, Massachusetts. The driver of the cart that Sullivan was riding in, also 27, is not being identified.

South Berwick Police Chief Dana Lajoie said Thursday that blood samples were taken from Sullivan and the driver after the crash. A state laboratory in Augusta will test each one’s blood alcohol level, the results of which probably won’t be known until next week.

Police are also inspecting the cart to determine if a mechanical malfunction caused the driver to lose control before the cart rolled over and landed on top of Sullivan. The accident occurred around 2:50 p.m. at The Links at Outlook Golf Course on Route 4.

“There were signs of alcohol in the cart,” Lajoie said, referring to several beer cans found by police. Lajoie said the presence of beer cans does not mean the driver had been drinking.

Lajoie said it is not illegal to drink alcoholic beverages on a privately owned golf course such as The Links at Outlook, but a criminal charge could be filed if the blood alcohol test reveals that drunken driving led to Sullivan’s death.

A person does not have to be driving a motor vehicle on a highway to be charged with drunken driving. Anyone driving a motorized vehicle, from an all-terrain vehicle to a lawn mower, can be charged, Lajoie said, but such a determination would have to be made by the York County District Attorney’s Office.

Lajoie said Sullivan and the driver of the golf cart were close friends. They were participating in an annual family-and-friends-style golf tournament that had been held for the past five or years at The Links at Outlook. Lajoie said most of the 14 golfers who participated are from Massachusetts.

Lajoie said Sullivan and his friend had just teed off at the par-3, 14th hole and were driving toward the putting green when the driver lost control of the cart as it headed down a steep, winding path.

Lajoie said the golf cart started to wobble before it rolled over, throwing Sullivan and the driver out. The cart kept rolling down the hill and landed on top of Sullivan.

Several other golfers lifted the cart off Sullivan.

Police said Sullivan suffered massive head injuries and died as a result.

An employee who answered the business phone referred all questions to the golf course’s owners, General Manager Tim Flynn and Director of Golf John Flynn.

Although attempts to reach the Flynns were unsuccessful Wednesday night, they posted a statement about the accident on The Links at Outlook’s Facebook page Thursday.

“A terrible and unfortunate tragedy occurred yesterday afternoon, September 10th at our golf course. The thoughts and prayers of the Flynn Family and everyone at The Links at Outlook are with the family and friends of Eric Sullivan,” the post says. “We will continue to cooperate with the ongoing investigation into this heartbreaking accident and await to hear from the authorities with the details behind what happened.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.