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Car Strikes 4-Year-Old on Florida Park Drive; “Thankfully We Don’t Have to Deal With a Tragedy”

| July 8, 2012

Francis Collins, at the wheel of his Honda Accord, shortly after the collision with the 4-year-old boy on Florida Park Drive. (© FlaglerLive)

It is every parent’s nightmare, almost every driver’s nightmare: You’re driving down a city street at normal speed, even slower than the posted speed limit. A child darts across the road, seemingly out of nowhere. You slam the brakes. It’s already too late. Car and child have collided.

It’s what happened on Florida Park Drive this evening at 6 p.m., between Flintstone Court and Forest Hill Drive.

Francis Collins, a 69-year-old resident of Frederick Lane, was going home, driving north on Florida Park Drive. He was less than a mile from home, driving a Honda Accord at less than the posted 30 mph speed limit, according to a Florida Highway Patrol investigator at the scene.

The 4-year-old boy, whose identity has not been released, was at 129 Florida Park Drive. He decided to cross the road to go to the house immediately across from 129, at 122, where the boy reportedly lives. The two households may be related. The boy darted across the road, as the trooper describes it. Collins applied the brakes. The car didn’t strike the boy with full force, but as it slowed to stop. “You know how a car comes to a stop and right at the end there’s a bump?” That’s how the trooper described the collision.

Janet and Don Gibson were in their house, a door down from the site of the collision. “The thud was really loud,” Don said. “I didn’t think you could make that loud a thud when you hit somebody.” Janet confused the sound with that of a boom box, a sound often heard down that busy street. The couple didn’t make anything of it. But later the couple noticed the flashing lights, and when they made it outside, the boy had been taken into an ambulance.

By then the county’s Fire Flight rescue helicopter had been placed on standby then taken off: it had sounded worse than it was, though it was bad enough: the boy had a bruised hip, the trooper said. But his life was not in danger. “Everybody’s shook up, but thankfully we don’t have to deal with a tragedy,” the trooper said.

There were no skid marks on the road, no visible sign of a collision on the Honda, and where the boy ended up after the collision was not far from the car, all of which, the trooper said, is consistent with the car going relatively slowly, and the collision happening as the car was stopping.

By 6:15 p.m., the boy and a relative were on their way to Halifax Hospital in Daytona Beach. Less than half an hour later, EMTs in the ambulance reported that the boy was acting “age-appropriate,” another sign that a tragedy had been averted.

Florida Park Drive is a busy, narrow, two-lane road that flows with traffic from innumerable side streets. “Everybody comes from every angle and goes down this street,” Janet Gibson said. The neighbors where the boy is believed to live, her husband said, “park a lot of cars in that driveway. We always worry about something is going to happen when they back out of there.”

Traffic was closed on Florida Park Drive between Flintstone Court and Forest Hill Drive for 40 minutes, until 6:45 p.m.

The only evidence of the crash, besides a trooper finishing his work with lights flashing, by the side of the road, was a small, bright clump of a child’s clothes straddling the grass and the driveway of 129 Florida Park DDrive, where paramedics had tended to the boy.

The 4-year-old boy’s clothes, left at the scene. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The early evening scene on Florida Park Drive. A looming thunderhead, which never broke open, had darkened the skies. (© FlaglerLive)

The Florida Highway Patrol investigator at the scene, speaking with Francis Collins. (© FlaglerLive)

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13 Responses for “Car Strikes 4-Year-Old on Florida Park Drive; “Thankfully We Don’t Have to Deal With a Tragedy””

  1. Diane says:

    Why an adult didn’t walk this 4 year old child across this busy street is beyond me. I’m happy to hear that the little boy is okay, but the what could have beens are scary. Parents take care of your children! The poor driver just had a few years taken off his life out of sheer fright.

  2. Ron says:

    I’m glad the kid is OK, but I too wonder where the heck the parents were when this happened.

  3. Clint says:

    I travel down that road almost everyday. I try and keep my speed at 25mph because I worry about a child or young person darting out. What I get is tailgated and horn beeping because I’m not going fast enough. I vote we drop the speed limit on Florida Park Drive to 20mph. Yea thats going to happen !

    • firestar says:

      yeah sure,lets also drop i95 to a limit of 45 mph…..instead of maybe penalizing the parents for allowing the kid to run off unattended—a a shame a child got hit–but living overly paranoid isnt gonna solve everything

    • jane says:

      the driver was driving under the speed limit anyway. this has nothing to do with the speed. if some parent lets their kid cross alone, the kid could get hit at 20, 15, 5, or at any speed.

  4. Donna says:

    No four year old should be crossing the street by themselves regardless of what street they live on. I am very happy to hear that the boy is alright. Thank goodness the driver was using defensive driving skills.

  5. palmcoaster says:

    A four year old unsupervised across that busy F;lorida Park Drive? My best wishes for this child recovery!

  6. Colleen says:

    I am so thrilled that the little boy will be fine…THANK GOD! I was I was there with the family as was my mom helping the little boy and family. I have one thing to say to all of you placing blame on the parent’s/family…DO NOT judge! I am a mom of a 2 year old boy (aware that crazy things happen in the blink of an eye) and for those of you to be “questioning” them is absolutly absurd! You have no idea of how it happened. Yes we know that he was crossing the road, how do you know that they weren’t there holding his hand and jerked away???( like most normal children do) Accidents can happen to anyone. Don’t be so quick to place them blame. And another thing…the parent’s and family are putting themselves through hell right now and they don’t need other people to be blaming them as well. Please I beg of you all to have some compassion and just wish this family good thoughts and prayers. For the driver that hit the little boy no one could possibly understand what he is going through as well and prayers go out to you as well. As far as I am concerend it was a truly heatbreaking accident and it is NOBODIES fault. Accident as tragic and scary as they are happen. At least this one has a good ending! My prayers and best wishes to you all!

  7. question says:

    Thanks for the added balance.

  8. Deep South says:

    Kids well be kids. So glad the little guy is ok. I to don’t like how people can rush to judgement. I’ve seen kids unlock front doors and let them self out. My son when he was little use to follow the dog outside through the dog door, fortunately the dog door went outside into a fenced in back yard.

  9. FBGrl says:

    Sorry Colleen but never in my life would I allow my 4 year old child to play anywhere in my front yard unwatched/unattended. Further, if the issue is the child unlocking a door to get out, then some serious child proofing needs to be considered.

    There’s 2 victims in this… that poor boy and the man that hit him. I can’t imagine what went through his head.

    • Colleen says:

      Thats great….neither would I. I never ssaid that I would or they would. There is more than two victims. Have some compassion. Everybody wants to say it would never happen to me or I would have done this. REALLY?!?!? How do you know?? Bad things happen to good caring watchful people all the time. I’m just asking that everyone thinks before they speak. It is absoultly ridiculous to be placing blame at a time like this. Have a heart. What if it were you??? And don’t say ,”thats could never happen to me”, because you just never know.

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