Flying golf ball maims driver
Anita Lee left Dearborn Heights, Mich., excited at the prospect of attending a week-long Nia technique dance and movement class at Lake Tahoe and getting her certification.
Instead she went home with a multiple fractured cheekbone, a damaged nasal cavity and at least 17 stitches near her left eye.
“I wanted to get certified and teach others because of what it gave me. I’ve been preparing for three months,” Lee said. “I was so looking forward to it.”
On Tuesday, Aug. 2, Lee sat in the back seat of a car traveling Highway 267 from Truckee to the lake.
She donned her sunglasses and settled back to enjoy the scenery and the warm summer day.
Minutes later her face and her hopes of finishing the course were shattered.
A golf ball from the Old Brockway Golf Course flew in through an open front window, fracturing her cheekbone in three places.
“Who would believe it?” Lee asked. “I was hours in the hospital, I had to have X-rays, an MRI and I don’t know how many stitches.”
Lee said the golf course is being co-operative and helpful, and the golfer came forward with his information.
Lane Lewis, Old Brockway’s owner, said the accident is regrettable and unfortunate.
“It’s the first case, and I’ve been here since 1981, that someone’s been hit by a ball in a car,” he added.
Lewis said because the golf course is on a scenic corridor, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency won’t allow netting to be strung up.
Lewis said they are growing trees to protect the roadway and since they moved the club house they have had a lot less golf balls on the highway.
Lewis said the golfer hooked the ball and it must have been moving almost laterally to go in through the window.
“The golfers are responsible but it’s hard to guard against,” he added.
Lisa Ritter, one of the Nia instructors, said Lee was lucky she was wearing sunglasses as they probably saved her eye from even more severe damage.
Dr. Michael MacQuarry, from the Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee, said Lee had come within an inch of losing her eye.
It is important the public is aware of the danger and should always roll up the window when passing a roadside golf course, he said.
“Driving on 267 is like being on the golf course, especially when you’re driving on the same side,” MacQuarry said.
MacQuarry said the Nia workshop group was very supportive and Lee had the right attitude to get better.
“Tammy’s a nurse from Missouri, she really helped me a lot and Dana is an X-ray technician, Dana read the X-rays too,” Lee said.
Rob Bruce, Incline Village’s Championship Golf course pro-shop manager, said he’d not heard of problems of cars or people being hit.
“It would have to be a pretty errant shot,” he added.
Lee is back in Michigan recovering from the accident and determined to continue her quest for certification in the Nia technique.
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