Boykins mayor cleared in golf cart caper

Published 7:59 am Saturday, October 8, 2011

COURTLAND—A judge on Friday dismissed a charge against Boykins Mayor Spier Edwards for illegally driving his golf cart on Highway 35.

“I felt like that was the only thing the judge could do,” Edwards said after his hearing in Southampton General District Court. “I’m happy he dismissed the case.”

Judge Parker Councill did not return a telephone call to The Tidewater News.

Edwards said the case was dismissed because Boykins resident David Stiglitz, who filed the complaint against Edwards, missed the hearing. Stiglitz is reportedly elk hunting out West.

On Aug. 7, Edwards said he was on his way home and knew it was against the law to drive on Highway 35. The speed limit on the portion of the highway that goes through the Town of Boykins one week earlier had been increased from 25 mph to 35 mph.

Golf carts can only be driven on streets posted for 25 mph or less, according to Virginia law.

“I was within 200 to 300 feet of my house and I had to go to the bathroom,” Edwards said. “I told my wife, ‘I’m going to drive down there.’ I would’ve told the judge the same thing. I was wrong.”

“If I had to turn around, I would have needed to go a half-mile or more,” he added. “I didn’t think I could go that far (and make it home quick enough).”

Edwards in June publicly reminded residents about a two-year-old town ordinance that allows people to legally drive golf carts in Boykins. Town officials explored state regulations and ordinances in other communities to come up with requirements, one of which only allows golf carts to be driving on streets posted for 25 mph.

Operators also must have a valid driver’s license and insurance on the golf cart. The golf cart must be equipped with seat belts, headlights, windshield wipers, a mirror and a horn. Boykins also requires that golf carts get a safety inspection from a licensed inspector.