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Biker Airlifted in Critical Condition After Car Cuts Him Off at US1 and Matanzas

| April 6, 2012

The biker smashed into the driver's side flank of the Dodge as the Dodge was crossing U.S. 1. Richard Henderson Deeves of Palm Coast, to the right of the Florida Highway Patrol cruiser, was at the wheel of the Dodge. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Last Updated: 4:34 p.m.

Bike Week is long over. Biker crashes aren’t.

Robert O’Conner, 49, was on his Harley Davidson, traveling north on U.S. 1 around 10:30 this morning–wearing his helmet, not speeding, abiding by all road laws.

Richard Henderson Deeves, 88, of Bickford Drive in Palm Coast, was in his white Dodge Neon, driving on Matanzas Wooods Parkway. “I was coming out of Matanzas,” he said at the scene, “and I was going to go south on 1, and I came across here. I saw the guy, he was way down the road. So I figured I would be be safe to get into the middle isle here and double-check south-bound traffic before I cut into a moving lane. And then all of a sudden–BANG. I got hit.”

The impact took place about a foot and a half from the yellow line along the inside, northbound lane. There is a dark skid mark from the biker’s tire. It’s only a few feet long, suggesting O’Conner had very little time to react, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper at the scene said, and that Deeves had seriously misjudged the distance of the biker when he made the decision to cross the road. Charges against the driver–violating the biker’s right of way–are pending. The air bags in Deeve’s car deployed. Deeves himself, who was on his way to see his wife at Flagler Pines, the nursing home in Bunnell, was not seriously hurt, though he had a bandage on his right arm.

O’Conner, who is from Palm Coast, had no pulse when medics arrived at the scene. He was revived and airlifted in critical condition aboard Flagler County’s Fire Flight Helicopter, to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach. His helmet bore the marks of road scrapes.

The scene was cleared by 11:30 a.m. The bike and the neon were removed from the scene by John’s Towing. The Florida Highway Patrol made the biker’s identity available around 4 p.m. Friday.

The helmet. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The brake disk on the Harley, visibly bent. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The bike. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Point of impact. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

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21 Responses for “Biker Airlifted in Critical Condition After Car Cuts Him Off at US1 and Matanzas”

  1. Biker says:

    Driver is 88 years old ? Stopped a foot and a half into the lane of traffic. Think that may be a contributing factor?

    • Bill says:

      The 88 years old part or the stopped a foot and a half into the lane? People never stop at the white stop line at an intersection anymore. It is almost as if they think their car’s length stops at the driver’s seat. I think I may be right in saying a lot of accidents between a bike and a car do not always involve a person over 65 years of age. All that aside this is a tragedy and no one should ever be involved in an accident. But as long as there are people on powerful machines driving and riding on road ways there are going to be accidents. My God keep this rider, their family/friends close to his heart.

      • Biker says:


        I ride a bike almost daily im Palm Coast. I can tell you first hand that older drivers pulling out in front of you suddenly from intersections,is a real problem here. Just look back at recent serious bike accidents here in the PC area during this past bike week, they almost all involve senior citizens. As far as the facts of this accident are concerened, if they are true as reported, he wasnt merely over the white stop line, he was over the yellow road border line directly in the path of travel of the motorcycle.

        Senior citizen retesting should be mandatory.

        • Art Woosley says:

          The motorcyclists are driving in an ever increasing dangerous fashion. Everyday, anyone can see bikers darting around, running stop signs, jumping lanes and not driving responsibly. They often act as if they are immune to traffic rules and the laws of physics.

          Bikers MUST be retested every 3 years and must take semi annual written tests to keep them conscious and aware of the proper safe operating skills and behavior they must possess.

    • jane says:

      i am sick to death of all these whiteheads and the the way they drive around here in palm coast – like they are the only ones on the road. What about the ones that make left hand turns from the right hand lane or better yet – double turning lanes where they cut into the lane next to them as they turn. i see it all the time.

  2. I'm Not Saying...I'm Just Saying says:

    I know it’ll never happen (because the AARP and senior voters would never allow it), but when can we set an age restriction on drivers license renewals?

    I.E. if you’re over 60, you have to get re-tested (road testing and vision) every 4 years at 60, 64, and 68. When you hit 70, every 2 years (70, 72, 76, 78). At 80, your license is good for ONE YEAR AT A TIME, pending driving tests.

    How many times to we have to hear ‘I didn’t think they were that close,’ or ‘I hit the gas instead of the brake-oops!’ and let people die before something changes?

  3. palmcoaster says:

    Driver still trying to blame the innocent biker…they try and get away with violating the right of way of bikers,cyclist and pedestrians and wild life while blaming the victim.

  4. Palmcoaster says:

    How about the fact he’s sitting in his walker/chair in the street. Prayers to the biker.

  5. Jack Howell says:

    I feel very sorry for the biker. We that ride take a serious risk. What is reported by Flagler Live regarding this accident shows that the driver of the car Richard Deeves should not be allowed to drive given his inability to judge distance. In my accident on 7 Jan, the driver of the car that hit me from behind was also elderly and had a problem of judging distance as he hit me doing 55 mph. My injuries included a fractured foot, 3 broken fingers, 2 bulging disc’s, a concussion and a torn rotor cuff which will be surgically repaired soon. I wish the biker above the best and my prayers are with you and hope the court revokes Deeves driver’s license!

  6. cheryl says:

    Everyone is in such a hurry to pull out from a stop sign. Count to five look both way twice and then pull out. Lot less accidents if everyone jusy used the brains they were born with. My prayers to the biker
    and his family and hopes of a full speedy recovery.

  7. comment says:

    I care for an elderly woman (88) who swears she is an excellent driver and to prove it to me she took me for a ride on Belle Terre. When she realized she needed to switch from the right lane to the left to make her turn she actually STOPPED in the road and waited for traffic before she made the switch. I was thankful when we got back home. I have told her many times just because a drunk makes it home safe does not mean he does a good job driving. It is such a difficult thing to remove that part of one’s independence, but it may save some lives. On the flip side I also think that 15 is way to young for Florida students to start driving. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Correction: Flagler Pines is a nursing home not an assisted living facility – big difference.

    [Thank you for the correction.FL]

  9. Agnese says:

    I’ll ask again, when will the department of motor vehicles start retesting older drivers??

  10. palm coastie says:


  11. Mariano Fajardo says:

    I am a biker and I very strongly believe that any car driver responsable for an accident with a motorcycle and causing injuries to its driver or passenger should be jailed for 6 months and have their drivers license taken away for 1 year. Then people will pay a little more attention to the road…………LOOK TWICE, LOOK TWICE, LOOK TWICE……………….

  12. Anonymous says:

    Ok well here’s the thing, Robert was in another motorcycle accident around a month or so ago. In this case he was leaving his job and it was raining and again someone pulled out in front of him. Rob was able to use brakes and do to climate conditions lay the the bike down with road rash on elbows and bruises down his legs, at this point very lucky! The person\person’s driving the other vehicle left the scene of the accident! Nothing ever came aboout! No witnesses or a tag from police no anyone could do anything to help in his case! The cost Rob endured was several hundreds of dollars to get his bike fixed, tweeked, the way he wanted for now. Rob just got his bike out of the shop a several weeks ago. I believe, that after 70 years of age people should be tested in road safety no matter what; DON’T GIVE THEM A FORM IN THE MAIL TO FILL OUT FOR RENEWEL! They need to go in for the eye, written, hearing, and driving, exams. I have had my bike since 2007 and laid it down twice, almost giving me mastectomy at 34, because other vehicles aren’t paying attention!!!! Rob is a respected worker and friend, at the local hospital I work for! God Bless and speedy reecovery! PLEASE we love you! I am sure most people have seen the bumper sticker reading “Watch For Motorcycles” This is a true statement!!!! Please, be aware of your surroundings!!!! I send my personal prayers and blessings to Robert and his family at this time! God Bless you all!! A fellow Co-worker Ginelle M. & family (co-worker)

  13. gator fan says:

    This is why I don’t ride a motorcycle. It’s not that complicated. That old gentleman could be blind,deaf, or all the above and that biker would be just as dead or injured. Bikes and cars equals a bad combo.

  14. Barb says:

    Yesterday, in Kmart parking lot in Daytona, an elderly lady (88 years old) managed to hit 7 parked cars. Mine had the worst damage. In high speed, she backed up, turned a car ACROSS three spaces, then pulled forward, backed up again and hit my car…shoving it into two other parked cars. She then tried to leave. A man pulled in front of her to try and stop her…she rammed him, backed up and rammed him again. Paramedics on scene found all her vitals were completely normal. They did not take her to the hospital…she was walking around talking to the paramedics and officers. She seemed to be very disoriented. I hope they take her license away and never let her drive again. I am completely for testing older drivers yearly and can’t believe it isn’t a law already.

  15. Joe says:

    Why anyone would ride a motorcycle in Palm Coast let alone Florida for that matter is beyond me. With so many elderly people on the road it’s suicide. Being a claims adjuster I’ve seen my share of fatalities and mangled up bodies. I am proud ot say I will NEVER buy a motorcycle and will NEVER ride here in Florida.

    • Peter says:

      I am absolutely paranoid when cycling down A1A to FLL. In NY, I was hit by an elderly lady in a Lincoln. In Fort Lauderdale by the Sea I was hit by an elderly lady in a Caddy. She was baffled when I got off the floor and confronted her about my 3K triathlon bicycle. She thought she had passed me safely, yet clipped my rear wheel laterally, sending me rolling out of the fall with road rash.

      Florida is number 1 in bicycle deaths in the nation.



  16. B Cournoyer says:

    I am outraged and disgusted! This is our co-worker, our friend. He takes care of people for a living. This old man needs his license permanently revoked and charges brought against him. I doubt that old man even realizes what he’s done! He’s sitting in a rolling seat (which, is a hint, how much lower body control does he actually have?) And he has the gall to say “he got hit”! Why Florida hasn’t taken notice to this (unfortunately) common occurance and acted accordingly is beyond me. 65 or older, visual, written and driving test should be required! And shortly after, woman drives into Publix almost killing several people including a 3 month old! When do our representatives sit up and take notice! Appalling!~

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