By BRADEN LAMMERS
A man involved in a Jeffersonville golf cart accident that resulted in his friend’s death has been charged with two felonies, according to a probable-cause affidavit filed in Clark County Circuit Court No. 3.
Matthew J. Myers, 33, was charged Wednesday with operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of at least .15 causing death, a class B felony, and operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death, a class C felony. If he is found guilty on both charges, Myers could face up to 28 years in prison and $20,000 in fines.
The charges stem from a night of drinking before the Thunder Over Louisville fireworks and air show.
According to the affidavit, police discovered Chad Anderson, 32, of Jeffersonville lying on the ground in the 200 block of Spring Street at about 12:30 a.m. April 20. There was a six-passenger EZ-GO golf cart in the alley connecting to Spring Street and Myers was standing nearby.
The police officer, who was working security for the Thunder Over Louisville area, said he called for an ambulance, noticed a handgun on Anderson’s hip and notified him he was going to take the weapon, to which Anderson said, “go ahead,” according to the probable-cause affidavit. Authorities began treating Anderson and when the paramedics arrived, he was transported to University of Louisville Hospital, where he later died.
How the accident that ultimately killed Anderson occurred is still unclear. According to the affidavit, when police initially questioned Myers about what happened he said that Anderson was driving the golf cart, heading south on Spring Street, when he made a sharp turn and fell out of the cart hitting his head on the side of a building. When the officer repeated the account and asked Myers if that was correct, he changed his story and said, “you know what? I was driving. I was the one that was driving.”
Myers was unable to tell police which direction he was driving the cart or which way he was attempting to turn, according to the affidavit. He did tell police that when he saw Anderson fall out of the cart, he turned the cart around to go check on him. Myers added that the way the golf cart was parked against the building was the way he left it when he got out to check on Anderson.
There are markings of where the golf cart is believed to have struck The Springs Salon & Spa at the end of an alley where it intersects with Spring Street. There was damage to the golf cart and alcohol was found in the vehicle.
“There was a cup with beer in the golf cart,” said JPD Detective Todd Hollis.
JPD police officers on the scene of the accident said there was a strong odor of alcohol on Myers when he was questioned and taken into custody.
Myers was given a portable breath test, which registered a .255 blood-alcohol content, according to the affidavit. However, he was not given a field sobriety test for safety reasons because, “Matthew had a difficult time standing.”
He was also transported to Clark Memorial Hospital, where a blood test was also administered. While in route to the hospital, Myers told police that they would find alcohol and marijuana in his blood.
According to the affidavit, Myers said he took one puff of a marijuana cigarette several hours before the accident and that he and Anderson had been drinking at Third Base Tavern, a bar on Spring Street in Jeffersonville.
Once at Clark Memorial Hospital, Myers again changed the story he told police. According to the affidavit, he said Anderson was driving the golf cart.
“[Myers] stated he lied about driving the golf cart at first because he was trying to protect his friend from getting in trouble,” according to the affidavit.
The golf cart the two were driving was borrowed from a friend who lives in Clarksville. Hollis said he was able to confirm ownership with the man, matching the title and a serial number on the golf cart. Hollis said the golf cart was delivered to Myers’ home off of Meigs Avenue in Jeffersonville on Friday, with the intent that he would use the cart during Saturday’s Thunder Over Louisville.
Hollis said he does not believe that Myers had a permit to drive the cart through the event area during Thunder, but added it is not uncommon for local residents near the riverfront to use golf carts to get around the Saturday of Thunder with all of the road closures downtown.
When asked, Hollis said Myers and Anderson were not working the event and the golf cart was not owned by anyone in the Clark County Sheriff’s Department. Anderson is the son-in-law of Clark County Sheriff Department Maj. Chuck Adams. Adams was unable to be reached for comment.
The News and Tribune was able to reach Myers, but when the reporter identified himself, Myers hung up.