Family calls for change after losing loved ones in golf cart crash: 'Drunk driving has to stop'

Nick Natario Image
Wednesday, September 7, 2022
Golf cart crash victims' family served 2 more reminders of DWI impacts
The first of three recent Galveston DWI crashes involved the deaths of four family members on a golf cart, including two children. A month since then, a lawsuit has been filed against two establishments alleged to have served the suspect driver the day of the crash.

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A month after four people were killed in Galveston when an alleged drunk driver hit the golf cart they were on, their family is speaking for the first time and calling for change.

The scene from the Aug. 6 crash at the intersection of Avenue R and 33rd Street is one that a mom can't get out of her head.

"Their one-month mark hit (Tuesday), and it's, like, replaying," Jocelyn Lara explained. "We're really never going to have them back."

One month ago, Lara's 4-year-old son, Kaisyn Bentacur, was killed when the golf cart he was in was hit by an alleged drunk driver.

SEE ALSO: Lawsuit filed against alleged drunk driver in crash that killed 4 people in a golf cart in Galveston

"He was a happy baby," Lara recalled. "He had a lot of love to give to everybody."

Since then, Lara's had painful reminders of that day. Two other deadly wrecks involving alleged drunk drivers, including one over Labor Day weekend, have occurred in Galveston.

"The drunk driving has to stop," Lara said.

Since the deadly golf cart accident, officers have stepped up patrols. In 2021, from mid-August until Labor Day weekend, the Galveston Police Department made 17 DWI arrests, according to records obtained by ABC13. In 2022, it was 55.

But more help could be coming soon.

SEE ALSO: Galveston officials meet to discuss possible changes to golf cart ordinance after deadly crash

On Thursday, the city council will vote on using nearly $50,000 on DWI enforcement for 2023. This is a problem that attorney James Amaro said needs to be addressed.

"We've had anonymous letters come to the mail about how they feel about drinking and driving, and that there's no accountability or responsibility on the island," Amaro said.

Amaro said they've also heard from people about the suspect, Miguel Espinoza, in the deadly golf cart accident. Espinoza is facing five charges.

In a civil lawsuit, there are images of him from the day of the crash. Amaro said the photos show Espinoza drinking hours before the accident.

"We've learned as early as 2:30 p.m. they were drinking that afternoon at the Float Bar, and the night of drinking ended with this tragedy at 11:30 p.m.," Amaro explained.

Float Bar told ABC13 that Espinoza left four hours before the accident, and they're cooperating with police.

SEE ALSO: Galveston golf cart crash suspect had bloodshot eyes, breath smelled of alcohol, filing reads

The victims' families said they would visit the island frequently before the accident. Now, it's hard to return after what happened.

"How can we go out and enjoy our family when we have to have that fear," Lara said.

The civil lawsuit also names another bar, but ABC13 did not hear back from them. Espinoza is currently being held in the Galveston County jail on a $500,000 bond. He's due in court in October.

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