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Josh Crews, Long-Time Woody’s Bartender and Manager, Killed in Sunday Morning Wreck

| November 21, 2010

'This is such a tragedy,' writes Vicki King Fontneau, 'I cannot fathom it...words cannot describe the pain of this loss. I am so, so sorry to hear about this. Josh Crews was indeed 'larger than life' with his infectious smile and fun-loving way. He had a way of making everyone feel special. This picture is of Josh on their boat in Green Turtle Cay, in the Abacos, Bahamas... one of his favorite vacation spots for years. My heart and tears go out to you all, Scott & Melanie, Matt & Adam & all who loved him.' (Courtesy of Vicki King Fontneau)

Josh Crews, the 34-year-old bartender, manager and former owner of Woody’s Bar B-Q in Palm Coast died in a single-vehicle wreck on U.S. Route 1 early Sunday morning. Jamie Bly, 25, of Palm Coast, whom Crews was traveling with—they were on their first date—was critically injured and taken to Halifax Hospital.

Josh, courtesy of Courtney C. Lowers

Crews, who is from Flagler Beach, was driving an older-model Ford Sport Trac north on U.S. 1 at 2 a.m. Immediately before Otis Stone Hunter Road, the car dropped off the right shoulder. Crews overcorrected. The car traveled across U.S. 1, hit the concrete median and flipped across the southbound lanes before coming to rest on the west side of the road, just past the shoulder. The car came to rest on its side (on the passenger side), facing northeast.

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Crews was pronounced dead at the scene. He was wearing his seatbelt. The extraction of the body took a long time because of the condition of the vehicle. No other vehicles were involved. The body was removed from the scene between 3:30 and 4 a.m.. The vehicle was towed away to John’s Towing at around 4:30 a.m.

The southbound lanes of U.S. 1 were closed for about three hours, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report.

By midday Sunday the scene had been mostly cleared of all but minor debris. Several CD cases were scattered on the shoulder, as were scores of vintage pennies from the 1930s, 40s and 50s: Crews, a coin collector, had bought the pennies this week. Clean-up crews had also left behind a lone ladies’ black boot and a book of guest checks used to take orders in restaurants.

Josh Crews (courtesy of Artie O'Hara)

A crew member from John’s Towing returned to the scene—the same crew member who’d worked the scene during the night—to do further cleaning in early afternoon. “It was one of the worst I’ve seen, and I’ve been doing this for two years,” he said.

Woody’s owner Joe Rizzo and his wife Teresa were at the restaurant Sunday afternoon, fielding a stream of  calls and sympathies and looking worn from the night’s ordeal. Crews had been the best man at their wedding 11 years ago. He and Joe had known each other since 3rd grade. “He was a larger than life type person,” Joe said.

“He was the personality of this bar,” Teresa said, describing Josh’s happiness as infectious—the sort of personality that cheers (and “Cheers”) are made of.

Richard Bennett, president of the Flagler County Professional Firefighters Association and a childhood friend of Josh’s, had described him in similar terms by phone earlier: “He was just a wonderful person. He had a great laugh, a great smile, you walk in the door, he was always there to greet you.”

Woody’s opened in July 1998, with Josh and his brother Matt as the original owners. Rizzo bought a part of the business a year later. Then Josh decided to go to the University of Florida, where he majored in English (and devoured books at a rate of a book a day at times, especially sci-fi). Josh went to work in the mortgage business for a while then rejoined Woody’s as a bartender and manager, with Matt Crews and Joe Rizzo as owners (as they still are).

That’s how most people knew Josh: as the restaurant’s bartender and its manager. He also managed Woody’s in St. Augustine until that restaurant was sold three months ago. Wednesday nights were his big nights at Woody’s, with the weekly car show there usually drawing patrons and friends in large numbers.

Sean Moylan, a long-time friend and former teacher in Flagler County schools (he now teaches in Cairo), wrote: “whenever he introduced me to someone, he said, ‘momo has been to the mountain and drank from the stream!’ inevitably the person responded, ‘huh?’ and Josh just repeated that phrase until the person understood that josh admired me. Josh told me on many occasions that our bodies are only capsules for our spirits. now it is josh who drinks from a stream everlasting. I will see him again if it is God’s will.”

Services: A viewing will be held at Craig Flagler Palms Funeral Home Friday, Nov. 26, from 4 to 7 p.m. The funeral home is located at 511 Old Kings Road South. The funeral is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 27, at 11 a.m., at First Baptist Church in Bunnell.

The Crews: Josh, to the right, with his mother Melanie, his father Scott, and his brother Adam. (Click on the image for larger view)

Josh and friends (courtesy of Mary O'Hara)

Best friends: Tom Lorber with Josh during an August vacation. 'He always loved the beach,' Tom says. (Courtesy of Tom Lorber)

Josh Crews had just bought a collection of vintage pennies from the 1930s, 40s and 50s. Coins were scattered on the highway after the wreck.
(Click on the image for larger view. © FlaglerLive)

josh crews us 1 traffic wreck fatality

Josh Crews' Ford hit the median on the northbound side at US 1 and Otis Hunter Road then flipped several times before coming to rest at the edge of the southbound lane. (© FlaglerLive)

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60 Responses for “Josh Crews, Long-Time Woody’s Bartender and Manager, Killed in Sunday Morning Wreck”

  1. Corky and Eileen says:

    Wednesday Woody’s Nights just won’t be the same without Josh.
    Our thoughts are very much with the Crews family, and with Jamie’s family as well.
    Corky and Eileen


  2. Amber King Sgro says:

    To my Uncle Scotty, Aunt Mel, Matthew, and Adam,
    I am deeply saddened by the loss of a cousin and a childhood friend..I can only remember the fun times we shared at Grammas house as kids. I pray for the Lord’s peace to be with you, your family and all of the people who were blessed by his friendship. He now sits at the foot of the throne surrounded by the one’s we love and have lost along the way. Heaven is rejoicing and celebrating today at the arrival of it’s newest angel. To Josh, may you rest in peace, we will meet again someday…


  3. Suzanne Betz says:

    A most handsome man with the booming voice, biggest smile, most incredible laugh u can imagine has been taken from us. Snackjack’s and the entire county of Flager will miss you dearly. You will be loved and remembered for eternity!


  4. From this side of the King family, I just want you Scotty and Mel to know that I share your heartache and grief as it were my own. You have survived a parents worst fears. I know that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, our God in all his mercifullness will somehow see the two of you through this terrible tragedy.It was in the early 1970′s…I can’t remember the exact year, when Scott and Mel were still living in the country, Scott hired me to do some work around his house. I don’t exactly know how old Matthew was, but I can remember Joshie so vividly. He was about three years old, and whatever I was doing was something completely out of the norm for him. So therefore, everywhere I went, he followed. I will never forget him out on the deck, with his little tricycle, singing just as plain as day “Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.” I guess that’s the way that I will always remember this fine young man.
    The next time I saw Josh was at Woody’s, as a grown man, after our mother had been so sick, we all stopped in after a family get together, and Josh came to the table, and visited with our mother and all of us.
    He was certainly an attribute to his mother and father, and any parent would have been proud to have such a son.
    All I can add to this would be to those that are saved and know the love of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, you know that Josh is now with his greatgrandmother, my mother, and all those that have gone on before him. He is truly dancing around the throne. We grieve for ourselves at such a tremendous loss, but we know where Josh is.
    Scotty,Melanie, Matthew, and Adam…My heart is with you and I will continue to pray ceaselessly for you all.


  5. TBoom says:

    I always called Josh Crews a living legend and he would always agree. Josh made you be a better person by just being around him. He had the highest character of anybody I’ve ever met in my life and he could charm the skin off of a rattlesnake with just a few words. Josh was taken from us way too early but if you’ve had the privilege of hearing some of his stories, you’d think he lived two lifetimes. The legend of Josh Crews will never be forgotten.

    RIP good buddy


  6. anonymous says:

    this is really sad luvv goes to the crews family


  7. Lindsey Green says:

    Horrible devastation. The Crews family played a huge role and my adolescence, especially Josh and all the great advice that he threw my way. I will truely miss this genuine man. My love goes out to the Crews family and my Woody’s family. I love you all. Wish I could be there.

    XO Lean Mean Lindsey Green (as Josh and Adam would say)


  8. Lisa Tanner says:

    It’s really amazing how Josh made everyone he was associated with on a regular basis feel like they were so important that EVERYONE felt close to him. It is a quality that few people are able to cultivate with any success and such finesses as Josh has. I am inspired by Josh to be a better friend to the people around me and to make an effort to do a better job of keeping in touch with people back home.
    I remember being out with him one night and asked him if he had his cell phone with him and he laughed and asked me something along the lines of “WHAT?! Do I look important enough to you that I need to carry a phone with me to go out and have a beer?!” And the answer is, well yeah, that’s why I asked! I sure as heck hadn’t brought mine!
    Though I am deeply saddened that he is no longer gracing us with his presence I feel fortunate to have known a person of his caliber and amazing wit and will always be grateful to have had the opportunity to have been close to him. There is one thing for sure though, you don’t meet people like Josh too often and God broke the mold after he made Josh. =)


  9. Erin & Chris Poggi says:

    We just received the news about Josh’s passing. This is so sad. My fiance worked with him at Woody’s and he indeed could make everyone laugh and light up a room. He will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his many friends and his family. <3


  10. Rebecca Forrest says:

    Wow. Here’s my immediate first thought of Josh ….. So there we were in Mrs. Lafevre’s class, 7th or 8th grade I think, Josh falls asleep in class, Craig A. and Paul M. try to save him, but Lafevre gets to him first. His penance is to read alound the poem we’re about to go over. How does he handle it??? He sings the damn thing, all 17 stanzas of it, and loves every minute of it. “And the highwayman came riding, riding, riding. The highway man came riding, up to the old inn door.” What a great guy; what a great loss.


  11. Willy Laundrie says:

    Josh was the type of person that you remember every encounter you had with him. I rented the small apartment under his beach house years ago. I will never forget the stories, and advice I took from that beach apartment when I left. Im truly lucky to have known the Crews famly and Josh.


  12. Scott and Melanie…
    What a beautiful service and a wonderful send-off for Joshua.
    I know that in the days to come, you both will have to deal with a tremendous grief that is beyond my comprehension. But I know that both of you stand in the shadow of our God’s wings, and he will forever be with you, to comfort and counsel…But i’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know.
    I guess the hardest thing I had to endure was the loss of Hal, because we had become so close the last ten years of his life. But with the help of our Dear Jesus, I coped, and was able to move forward.
    My mother, I never grieved for, because she was in a physical shape that she hated to endure, and I know that when the angels came for her in the night, she leapt from that bed, laughing and rejoicing all the way!
    Now she can visit with Josh again, and Scotty, if there’s a stove in heaven, I’ll betcha Josh gets a Strawberry cake! And he gets to see Gramma again.He’ll have lots of company, as you both know.
    My only regret is that I have been so far away for so long, that I have never gotten a chance to really know your boys, and I am truly sorry for that. I know that they are all fine boys, because they came from the finest stock.If ever there is anything that I can do for either of you, or you just need someone to pray with, please call me.(813)239-6351. This is my cell, and it’s on 24/7.
    I just want you to know that I love you both and be blessed,


  13. Sheehan Family says:

    Our deepest condolences to the Crews family. Melanie, Scott, Matt, and Adam,
    Josh will be remembered as one of the family, always there to make someone
    smile when they needed it most. Now he can make God smile upon all of us.


  14. Beatriz Vidal says:

    This is so heartbreaking. Mr & Mrs Crews, Matt & Adam … I am SO VERY SORRY for this horrible tragedy; you are in my prayers. Mr and Mrs Crews ~ you raised such a wonderful man. Josh was such a kind person and kind spirit. Matt & Adam … I’m sorry for the loss of your brother. He will never be forgotten.


  15. Big Joe - Pgh says:

    Josh was a great bartender with a great smile and personality! He was always kind and respectful. I always looked forward to seeing him after golf on Weds. He had a wit and was quick with a drink. I’m sure he will be missed by many!


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