I-95 Crash Sends 2 to Hospitals; Witnesses Cite Cell-Phone Distraction
FlaglerLive | February 22, 2012
A two-vehicle crash on I-95 just north of Palm Coast Parkway this morning sent two people to hospitals, one of them with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
The crash involved a gray Nissan Altima driven by Robert Vespi, 43, of St. Augustine, and a GMC Yukon pick-up, towing a trailer stacked with cut lumber. Thomas Berry, 39, of St. Augustine, was at the wheel of the Yukon.
“Both vehicles were traveling northbound,” Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. H.L. Smith said. The crash took place about 200 yards past mile marker 294, three miles north of the Palm Coast Parkway exit. “witnesses are telling us that the driver of the Nissan that rear-ended the SUV pulling the trailer, was apparently looking at what appeared to be a cell phone, whether or not they were texting or attempting to dial, and basically just rear-ended the end of the other vehicle.”
A subsequent FHP report confirmed that Vespi was “temporarily distracted, as he was texting on his cell phone.”
Vespi was flown to Halifax Hospital. Berry Yukon was taken to Florida Hospital Flagler by ground with minor injuries. The Yukon’s rear was smashed in by the trailer, which was stacked with lumber. The Altima’s front end was unrecognizable–a mass of twisted metal fit for a scrap yard. The car was towed by Roger’s Towing at 9:30.
The crash took place before 9 a.m., in the center lane of I-95. The two right northbound lanes of the interstate were closed until 9:40. The lanes were fully re-opened then, and traffic, which had backed up a couple of miles, was flowing again.
Neither driver was under the influence of alcohol, and both drivers wore their seat belts.