Woman dies after golf cart crash in Ruidoso

Police say 5-year-old was driving

RUIDOSO, N.M. - New Mexico State Police said a woman is dead after a 5-year-old driving a golf cart on Saturday lost control.

The cart flipped over and landed on the woman and a baby who were passengers.

"I can't get it out of my mind. It's terrible. I just can't forget it," Barbara Atkins, who drove up on the scene Saturday afternoon, told ABC-7.

Police said Jennifer Rowin, 34, died on Sunday. They said Jennifer Rowin and five young children, including a 10-month-old baby girl, were all in the cart.

"It's just tragic to think someone having fun taking their kids out for a fun event and then this tragedy," Atkins said.

Police said Brody Rowin, 5, was driving the cart down a steep hill at the intersection of Midiron and Broadmoor Drives in the Alto Lake Golf and Country Club Community.

Deep marks in the road show the cart slid all the way down the hill and landed in a ditch, where it crushed Jennifer Rowin and 10-month-old Brindi Rowin.

Neighbors who live nearby told ABC-7 off-camera it's completely inappropriate to let a 5-year-old drive a golf cart, especially down that hill.

"That's where the problem is. That's a long hill. It's pretty steep," said Brody Allen, who lives just a few yards from where the crash happened.

Police said Jennifer and Brindi Rowin were flown to University Medical Center in El Paso. They confirm Jennifer Rowin died on Sunday.

Police believe all of the passengers are related, but they do not know the exact relationships yet.

Allen said safety should be a priority when driving through the area.

"You could pick up speed big time. My cart has an automatic braking system. It won't let me go fast downhill because the minute the cart starts to pitch it gets jerky, slowing it down," Allen said.

Allen said this incident definitely makes him thankful for that safety mechanism.

"I thought about getting rid of it and go faster, but no. Never," Allen said.

State police told ABC-7 it is illegal for people to drive carts on roadways. They also said it was illegal for the 5-year-old to drive that vehicle.

Neighbors in the community said this is a tragedy they never expected to happen in their quiet retirement neighborhood.

Officials from UMC said Brindi Rowin has been released from the hospital.

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