A Madison man has been arrested for driving under the influence after officers stopped his golf cart speeding through a stop sign late Saturday night in downtown Madison.

Charles Bersch, 68, 204 St. Michaels Ave., was placed under arrest after results of a field sobriety test conducted by Patrolman Trent Smith and a portable breath test conducted by Senior Patrolman Seth Melton indicated that Bersch was above the legal blood alcohol limit.

Smith and Melton originally stopped Bersch after observing his golf cart disregard the stop sign at the intersection of West and Fifth streets while traveling east at a high rate of speed at about 11:43 p.m.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed in Jefferson Superior Court, when Bersch was stopped at the corner of Mulberry and Fifth streets, officers noticed that he was unsteady on his feet when he exited the golf cart, his speech was slurred and he smelled of alcohol. The affidavit said Bersch admitted to police that he had been drinking earlier in the day and had used marijuana.

During a search of Bersch and the golf cart, police confiscated a “one hitter” of marijuana from his pocket and placed Bersch under arrest. Bersch was taken to King’s Daughters’ Hospital for a blood draw then and to the Jefferson County Jail.

The arrest is not the first in Madison for operating a golf cart under the influence. Madison police made a similar arrest in September of 2013 in downtown Madison.

According to Madison Police Chief Jeremey Perkins, golf cart operators must observe the same traffic laws as operator’s of other vehicles, and, in some cases face even more restrictions.

Based on an ordinance adopted by the city in 2009, carts operating on city streets must be registered with the city and have a registration sticker attached. The operator or owner must show proof of insurance and operators must be over the age of 16 and hold a driver’s license.

City of Madison golf cart ordinance below.


City of Madison Traffic Ordinance pertaining to golf carts

The operation of a golf cart within the City of Madison is strictly prohibited unless the golf cart is operated and equipped in full compliance with this section. Golf carts may be operated on city streets except as restricted below.

(A) A golf cart shall not cross Clifty Drive at any point.

(B) Golf carts shall not be operated on Michigan Hill Road between Milton Street and Autumnwood Lane.

(C) Golf carts may not be operated on State Roads 56, 62 or 7 or U.S. Highway 421 or any other state or federal highway at any time. Golf carts may cross said highways only at intersections controlled by automatic traffic lights.

(D) Operators of golf carts shall at all times yield the right-of-way to faster moving traffic, and may not impede the regular flow of traffic.

(E) Golf carts shall not be operated on streets and highways of the City of Madison, Indiana during one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise unless the golf cart is equipped with two operating headlights (one on each side of the front of the golf cart) and two operating tail lights with brake lights (one on each side of the rear of the golf cart) which are visible from a distance of 500 feet.

(F) Operators of golf carts not equipped with operating turn signals, shall give a continuous hand signal for a minimum of 200 feet of their intention to turn off of the street they are traveling.

(G) Golf carts shall be identified as slow moving vehicles by a state approved triangular slow moving vehicle sign with the top of the sign positioned a minimum of five feet and a maximum of six feet above the road surface and clearly visible at all times while being operated on city streets.

(H) Golf carts shall not be operated on city sidewalks or city walking paths, including but not limited to, Heritage Trail.

(I) The number of occupants in a golf cart shall be limited to the number of persons for whom factory seating is installed and provided on the golf cart.

(J) The operator and all occupants shall be seated in the golf cart and no part of the body of the operator or occupant shall extend outside the perimeter of the golf cart while the golf cart is in motion.

(K) Only persons over 16 years of age and holding a driver’s license may operate a golf cart.

(L) The operator of the golf cart shall comply with all traffic rules and regulations adopted by the State of Indiana and the City of Madison which govern the operation of motor vehicles.

(M) Beginning January 1, 2010, all golf carts operated on the city streets of the City of Madison, shall be registered with the City of Madison and bear a registration sticker. The city shall collect a fee for said registration, which shall be set from time to time by the Board of Public Works and Safety.

(N) The financial ability of the operator or owner notwithstanding, the operator of a golf cart must show financial responsibility when operating a golf cart.

(O) Written proof of financial responsibility must be available either on the golf cart or carried by the operator at all times.

(P) Liability insurance coverage on a golf cart shall be in an amount not less than the minimum required by Indiana law for motor vehicles operated on public highways in the State of Indiana.