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Golfer killed in accident at Pala Mesa


Last updated 5/31/2007 at Noon

A tragic death occurred in the morning hours of Tuesday, May 22. The victim, 65-year-old Irvine resident, Edwin Payne, fell to his death from the grounds of Pala Mesa Resort’s golf course onto the bike lane of Old Highway 395.

The San Diego Coroners office completed their autopsy on May 23 and ruled Payne’s death as accidental, a result of blunt force injuries to the chest. Neither drugs nor alcohol played a role in the death of the victim.

The accident happened following Payne’s playing of tee two. The victim drove a 2003 club golf cart from the grassy area of tee two and was headed toward the concrete golf cart pathway. It was there that Payne lost control of the cart.

“The golf cart went down a 20-foot embankment, where it eventually went off a cliff to a sheer rock wall drop-off,” said Tom Kerns, Public Information Officer for the Oceanside office of the California Highway Patrol (CHP).

Investigators say the golf cart traveled about halfway down the hillside, then flipped, severing the top of the vehicle. The victim fell onto the highway.

“When he landed on the roadway it caused fatal injuries,” said Kerns.

Kerns explained that around the perimeter of Pala Mesa golf course, a concrete roadway with raised concrete curbs exists for cart travel. These curbs are very distinct on each side of the path.

“You just can’t drift off,” said Kerns. “You actually have to go up onto the curb, which is actually raised up about six inches.”

Old Highway 395 was closed at the scene for approximately three hours in order for officials to conduct the investigation into the incident.

The staff of Pala Mesa Resort is downhearted with grief regarding Payne’s death.

“We are taking this very hard,” said John Martin, general manager of Pala Mesa. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family. This was a very unfortunate tragedy and it was just a bizarre accident.”

Payne is survived by his wife, Clara.


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