Fourth Car-vs-Bike Wreck in 5 Days as Motor Scooter Is Struck on U.S. 1 South
FlaglerLive | October 24, 2012
Law enforcement officers, particularly those who investigate vehicle wrecks, don’t like motor scooters. They’re slow, they mess with traffic flow on highways, and too-frequently end up as the centerpiece of wreck scenes–as one did Wednesday morning on U.S. 1, across from the Raabe Racing machine shop south of Bunnell, and just north of Old Dixie Highway. It was the fourth wreck involving a cyclist of one sort or another in the last five days on Flagler roads.
Wednesday’s wreck took place at 8 a.m. Four vehicles were traveling north on U.S. 1 in a group. The motor scooter was first, driven by James Ternullo, 51, of Green Cove Springs. Behind the scooter was a pick-up truck. Behind the truck was a Honda driven by Kimberly Ellis, 49, of New Smyrna Beach. All three were in the slow, or right, lane of U.S. 1. Behind the Honda, in the passing lane, was a van.
At one point, the pick-up truck maneuvered to pass the motor scooter, and did so with a proper lane-change maneuver, a Florida Highway Patrol investigator at the scene said. “The lady travelling in the Honda is following the pick-up truck too closely,” the investigator said, based on his preliminary investigation and witness statements. The pick-up truck had blocked Ellis’s line of vision, so she hadn’t seen the motor scooter in front of the truck. When the truck made the lane change, she sped on ahead–and struck Ternullo’s motor scooter.
There were no brake marks from the Honda. “The driver of the motor scooter was ejected into the fast lane, where the van was approaching,” the investigator said. But the driver of the van “did a very good thing, very quick reaction,” and averted Ternullo. The van’s tire marks were visible on the highway, where he took evasive action.
“The motor scooter driver was not wearing a helmet, and I did see head injuries, but they did say no life-threatening injuries,” the investigator said. Flagler County Fire Flight was placed on stand-by, but Ternullo ended up being transported by ground to Halifax Hospital’s trauma unit, with serious injuries.
After seeing Ternullo at the hospital, the investigator said Ternullo had a two or two-and-a-half-inch laceration in the middle of his forehead, but he was “alert and conscious and in pretty good spirits.”
The motor scooter is a Chinese-made Agility 50. Motor scooters don’t have very fast cruising speeds. The Agility 50′s top speed is between 45 and 50 mph. Law enforcement officials have been noting them on roads in greater numbers in recent years, a sign of a sour economy that’s forcing some people to abandon cars for less expensive modes of transportation.
Flagler County Fire Rescue, the Palm Coast Fire Department and the Palm Coast Fire Police, along with the Florida Highway Patrol and the Flagler County Sheriff’s Department, responded to the scene. U.S. 1 north was shut down in the area for about half an hour. Roger’s Towing collected the vehicles.