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Palm Harbor BMW salesman dies after fall from golf cart

PALM HARBOR — He was closing up the dealership, as always.

But when George Karalis, 49, took a tumble from a golf cart Monday night, everything changed. A day later, he was pronounced dead.

Karalis, who lived in Palm Harbor, had worked for more than a year as a sales consultant at the Ferman BMW dealership at 31480 U.S. 19.

On Monday, Karalis was standing on the rear platform of a golf cart driven by co-worker Tarek S. Assem, 51, of New Port Richey. The two drove through the parking lot, closing the dealership about 9:30 p.m., according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

When Assem turned the cart, Karalis lost his balance and fell. His co-workers called 911.

Karalis was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, where he died Tuesday.

"It was a terrible, tragic accident and our hearts are breaking for the Karalis family and for the employees," said Ferman vice president Steve Straske. "It's heartbreaking."

Workers at the dealership were given the opportunity to speak with grief counselors Wednesday, Straske said. The counselors will return this week.

Straske said the accident was the first of its kind at the BMW dealership, on the west side of U.S. 19 midway between Curlew Road and Tampa Road.

"Right now, we just ask for prayers for his family and friends," Straske said. "They're going to need all the support they can get."

A Florida Highway Patrol investigation is ongoing.

Contact Marissa Lang at mlang@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3386.

Palm Harbor BMW salesman dies after fall from golf cart 02/22/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 6:05pm]
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