Crime - Sacto 911

Woman dies after falling from golf cart onto wine glasses

Co-workers of Debra Bedard of San Jose, Calif., expressed condolences after she died in a freak golf cart accident in an olive orchard Friday night.
Co-workers of Debra Bedard of San Jose, Calif., expressed condolences after she died in a freak golf cart accident in an olive orchard Friday night. Facebook

A woman who died from the shards of shattered wine glasses that broke in her hands when she fell from a golf cart is being remembered by friends and family as an energetic, caring person.

“My mom was a firecracker, so full of energy,” said her daughter, Melissa Quinonez on an online memorial page.

Debra Bedard, 58, was riding in a golf cart driven by her boyfriend of 17 years, Richard Clarke, 57, on olive-orchard land owned by the couple in the community of Wallace, in Calaveras County.

Clarke was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, but he was not suspected of causing Bedard’s fall, authorities said.

The couple was driving through the orchard late Friday night on a public road, Camanche Parkway South, near Camanche Reservoir, when Clarke made a left turn as he approached the end of the trees, according to a news release from the California Highway Patrol.

Bedard was holding two wine glasses when Clarke made the turn. Bedard was not able to maintain her balance and fell from the golf cart, according to the CHP.

The glasses she was holding broke underneath her. She died at the scene.

“The investigating officer said (Clarke) was arrested for DUI, but he didn’t really cause the (accident),” said CHP spokeswoman Officer Rebecca Myers. “A coroner’s report will determine if she was under the influence. But holding two glasses of wine and then he makes a turn, causes her to lose her balance and she falls out, landing on the glasses.”

Bedard graduated from Red Bluff High School. A posting on Facebook for Ace Relocation Systems noted that she was an employee in their San Jose office for 20 years.

“Her love and friendship has been a constant for the Ace family,” the moving company posting said. “Her knowledge of our clients, our system, our people cannot be duplicated.”

Her daughter said that she and her brother, Stephen Bedard, had a loving mother who frequently praised them, cuddled them and delighted them with silly songs when they were small.

She spent the last week of her life on vacation, enjoying nature and her life, including her relationship with Clarke.

“She was also fortunate to be able to spend the last 17 years with Richard, who she adored,” wrote Quinonez.

Clarke wrote a poem to Bedard on the memorial page that said in part:

“Now, for some reason, our time together has been called to an end. There’s a greater calling for you, my beautiful friend.”

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews

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