SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Nearly two weeks after a suspected drunk driver crashed into a golf cart taxi near Old Town Scottsdale, sending multiple people to the hospital, the driver of that cart is speaking out.

For the past several years, Jaqueline Mertens has been pursuing her small business dreams, a factory worker by day but at night, driving her own golf cart cab in old town Scottsdale.

“Me being a female, a lot of females ask me if I can take them to their Airbnb or hotel because they feel safe,” said Mertens.

And that’s exactly how the ride started off at 2 a.m. that Sunday. Mertens was behind the wheel of her stretch limo golf cart with four female passengers.

“We were talking exchanging pleasantries, then all of the sudden, I felt a big crash hit us. It felt like we had been in an explosion,” said Mertens.

According to Scottsdale police, Mertens was rear-ended by 22-year-old Robert Gandara, who they believe was driving impaired.

Gandera

According to Scottsdale police, Mertens was rear-ended by 22-year-old Robert Gandera, who they believe was driving impaired.

“There was no time to react. It hit us so fast so hard,” said Mertens.

The crash happened on Miller Road Near Chaparral Road. The impact ejected everyone from the cart.

“I saw bodies, three bodies laying (sic) lifeless in front of me. One of the girls was alert and coherent and speaking and she says, 'I think my leg is broken,'” said Mertens.

Mertens said she somehow found her flashlight within the debris and stood watch over her passengers, as other cars passed until help arrived.

“Think of them every day,” said Mertens.

The women were taken to the hospital with serious injuries but they weren't considered life-threatening.

golf cart crash

The impact ejected everyone from the cart.

Mertens also suffered multiple injuries. Her family has started this GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of replacing her golf cart that her insurance doesn’t cover. Mertens also said she had just taken out a small business loan to help her stay afloat through COVID-19.

 

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