Fatal bypass collision

Published 5:26 pm Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Golf cart traveling wrong way at night

By Frederic Lee 

Staff writer

A collision between a Mitsubishi and a stolen golf cart on the Route 10 bypass resulted in the death of Ryan Allen Cooling, 45, early Friday morning. 

Cooling was traveling eastbound in the westbound lane in a Yamaha golf cart with no headlights when he was struck head on by a 2019 Mitsubishi Mirage, driving west in the westbound lane, according to a Virginia State Police press release. 

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Cooling was not wearing his seat belt and was ejected from the golf cart, dying at the scene, according to the press release. Smithfield Deputy Chief Matthew Rogers confirmed that the golf cart had been stolen from Cypress Creek Golf Course. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

The Mitsubishi was driven by Smithfield resident Joseph Thomas Connelly, 30, of Smithfield who was arrested for driving under the influence following the collision, according to the press release. 

Virginia State Police Sergeant Michelle Anaya said responders could smell alcohol on Cooling when they arrived at the scene of the collision. 

The collision took place on the Route 10 bypass near Fairview Drive, and responders arrived to find the Mitsubishi overturned and heavily damaged, and the golf cart with very heavy damage, according to a post from the Smithfield Volunteer Fire Department, written by Smithfield Volunteer Firefighter Clay Vaughan.

The state police was dispatched at 12:51 a.m. and the fire department was dispatched at 12:48 a.m., according to statements released by the respective entities. 

Nightingale was called to the scene due to the nature of the incident, according to the post from the fire department; “Unfortunately the individual that was operating the golf cart succumbed to his injuries on scene before he could be transported.” 

The driver of the Mitsubishi was treated with minor injuries at the scene and Route 10 at Fairway Drive was closed for five hours while law enforcement investigated the incident, according to the post. 

In addition to the state police and the Smithfield Volunteer Fire Department, the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office, the Isle of Wight Volunteer Rescue Squad and the Smithfield Police Department responded to the scene, according to the post. 

Anaya said that Connelly’s BAC level has not yet been made public.

The state police press release says that Cooling is a resident of Elkton, Md. and Anaya said she didn’t know why he was in the area at the time of the crash.  {/mprestriction}