Head-On Crash Hurts 3 and Closes Belle Terre South of SR100; Driver Likely Drunk
FlaglerLive | December 2, 2011
Last Updated: 10:46 p.m.
Two men in a Toyota Corolla, traveling north on Belle Terre Boulevard, and likely drunk, smashed into a Saturn SUV traveling south, half a mile south of State Road 100 at 7:36 this evening. One of the men in the Corolla was evacuated by helicopter–Flagler County’s Fire Flight landed on Belle Terre for the evacuation. The other man, who initially ran from the scene, was caught by a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy and a K-9, and was transported to Florida Hospital Flagler, as was the woman in the Saturn. None had life-threatening injuries.
Belle Terre was immediately closed south of 100, and remained closed at 9 p.m., as the Corolla, its front-end unrecognizable, sat in the middle of the road. The Saturn was smashed against the woodline, past the east shoulder.Karen Dempsey, 45, of Palm Coast, was in the Saturn, driving south at normal speed. Kenneth Fuller, 44, and Richard Deacon, 24, were in the Corolla. Fuller was at the wheel. (Deacon’s driver’s license had been suspended.) Fuller was wearing a seatbelt. Deacon was not. That would end up playing a significant role in the nature of Deacon’s injuries.
Derek McKenna was also driving north on Belle Terre just before the crash. He’d just gotten off work. He was on his way to the gym. Quite suddenly, he saw the white Corolla behind him. “He passed me around the bend down there,” McKenna said. “I was doing 50. He passed me, no problem, I’m looking at 70, 80.” Fuller passed him on the curve. “There was another car coming. He got over just in time.”
That was moments before the crash.
Further north–between the two Zebulahs Trail side roads–Fuller ran off the shoulder right past a hard curve which he failed to negotiate. He over-corrected and smashed almost head-on into Dempsey’s SUV, according to a Florida Highway Patrol crash investigator at the scene.
Matt Ferraz, a Palm Coast resident who drove by the scene immediately after the crash, called 911. “That’s when I saw her coming out of the woods and yelling for help,” Ferraz said of Dempsey. He also saw Fuller leave the scene. “The driver came over on the passenger side, he crawled out and took off,” Ferraz said. He had seen Deacon stumble out of the Corolla, his head gashed, and fall to the grass, where he sat until someone else told him to lie down. The FHP investigator later said that Deacon told Fuller to run. Fuller did. But he was caught by Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy Daley and his K-9. “He reeked of alcohol,” the investigator said of Fuller, and there were beer bottles in the car. The driver was likely drunk, and charges are pending, the investigator said.
Dempsey’s husband arrived on the scene quickly after the crash. Palm Coast Fire Department paramedics treated all three patients. Dempsey was taken to Florida Hospital Flagler, as was Fuller. Fire Flight landed near the scene on Belle Terre at 8:04 p.m. and took off with Deacon at 8:12 p.m. Because Deacon wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, his body had violently slumped against Fuller as Fuller jerked the vehicle back onto the road when he’d lost control. Deacon was essentially level with Fuller, on the driver’s side, at the moment of impact with the SUV. Deacon’s head smashed against the steering wheel and the windshield, which broke. The investigator said Deacon left a clump of his hair against the windshield. The inside of the car was blood-spattered.
Fuller was subsequently arrested and charged with DUI with property damage and personal injury, and for leaving the scene of an accident. He posted $10,000 bond.
That curve on Belle Terre, the first going south from SR100, is a notoriously dangerous spot, and has been tragically memorialized before. Exactly parallel to the point of impact, where the Corolla sat Friday evening, demolished, you could look past the west shoulder of the road, into the brush, and notice it, though it might take a small effort: a wooden cross marking the spot of a fatal wreck. The cross had a rosary on it, and “Harley Davidson” imprinted on it, along with a name. Some of the name’s letters were visible. Some were not. They were covered with what looked like cloth or a shroud.