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Jaime Hutcherson, 23, of Palm Coast, Is Killed in a Motorcycle-SUV Wreck on US1

| November 4, 2012

Jaime Hutcherson’s motorcycle on U.S. 1 late Saturday night. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Jaime Hutcherson, a 23-year-old resident of Palm Coast, was killed following a wreck on U.S. 1 Saturday night after Hutcherson, riding his motorcycle, violently struck an SUV from behind, just past the Hess station and convenience store. Hutcherson, a graduate of Flagler Palm Coast High School, was evacuated by Volusia County’s Air One to Halifax hospital in very critical condition, and died overnight.

Jaime Hutcherson in a high school portrait.

Hutcherson struck a white Ford Explorer driven by Jesus Melendez-Prez, 35.

Florida Highway Patrol investigators at the scene said Melendez-Prez pulled out of the Hess station and drove north on the outside lane of the highway. The SUV had traveled some 200 feet further north when Hutcherson collided with it.

Melendez-Prez told FHP investigators that “he looked in his rear-view mirror and saw the motorcycle kind of back and forth,” that is, swerving, the investigator said, describing the movement with his hand, “and the motorcycle collided with the SUV in the outside lane of U.S. 1.”

Melendez-Prez, the investigators said, was not at fault, nor had he been trying to switch lanes. Rather, he said, the driver of the SUV had “established his lane,” meaning that he was driving legally and normally in that lane after pulling out of the station. An investigator pointed to the marks on the pavement, where there were two successive swerve marks from the motorcycle, with tire marks in those two spots that showed where Hutcherson had very likely attempted to suddenly slow or stop. A third mark in the pavement–an actual gash rather than a tire mark–indicated the point of collision.

The rear-left of the SUV was smashed, and the rear windshield shattered. The occupants of the SUV were not injured.

Hutcherson was wearing eye protection, but not a helmet, an investigator said, and alcohol, as far as Hutcherson was concerned, “is a possible factor,” the FHP investigator said. It is not a factor with Melendez-Prez.

The heavily damaged motorcycle, an HRC, was in the center of the two lanes, facing north, after the wreck. The SUV had pulled to the right shoulder.

Hutcherson had been traveling north from Daytona Beach with a second motorcyclist.

Near Destination Daytona, the rider of the other motorcycle told an investigator, Hutcherson was able to make it through a traffic light. The other rider was not. So he sped to make up the ground, according to the investigator. “He told me that he was going at least 120,” the investigator said, referring to the second rider, “and he couldn’t keep up with this motorcyclist,” that is, Hutcherson. “That’s what he told me.”

Still, the investigators have not confirmed the speeds of either the SUV or the motorcycle at the point of impact, and all of their investigation is preliminary.

The crash took place between 8 and 9 p.m., almost simultaneous with another crash, in Flagler Beach on State Road A1A, involving a vehicle and a pedestrian. The pedestrian in that crash was evacuated as well, but was expected to survive. U.S. 1 northbound was shut down for a few hundred yards. Northbound traffic was diverted onto the southbound lanes of the highway, which were split to enable the two-way traffic. All lanes reopened after 11 p.m. The Palm Coast Fire Police directed traffic.

Relatives of Hutcherson’s were at the scene, or drove to it on their way to Halifax hospital, briefly surveying the damage there and speaking with authorities. The Palm Coast Fire Department and Flagler County Fire Rescue, along with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, responded to the scene.

That stretch of U.S. 1 has been the scene of numerous wrecks this year, most of them involving motorcycles. James Ternullo, 51, was struck by a vehicle as he rode his motorscooter a little further south on Oct. 24. He suffered serious injuries. Tyler van Blavern, a 21-year-old motorcyclist, was found dead in a ditch on Sept. 25 on U.S. 1 just north of Bunnell. John Robinson, 33, was killed when he lost control of his motorcycle on Sept. 14, in the same general area of Saturday’s wreck. John Melvin, 56, was killed when he lost control of his motorcycle in early September, also in the same area of U.S. 1.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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36 Responses for “Jaime Hutcherson, 23, of Palm Coast, Is Killed in a Motorcycle-SUV Wreck on US1”

  1. Deep South says:

    Perhaps their should be a mandatory helmet law like their is for those that ride bicycles. To many young people are fearless and take risks. My thoughts and condolences to this young man’s family.


    • Deep South says:

      Bicyclist must be over 16 years to ride without a helmet. Perhaps motorcyclists must be over 30 years ride without a helmet. More of a question of responsibility and maturity.


      • Nancy N. says:

        Age does not necessarily equal maturity when riding a motorcycle. Just yesterday, I was on I-95 North in Volusia County. I got stuck behind a slow vehicle in the middle lane. I was about to pull out to pass the slower vehicle on the left when I realized a large group of motorcycles was approaching quickly in that lane. I stayed where I was to let them pass. As they approached us, half of the pack suddenly dived two lanes to the right , so that they could blast past on both sides of the slow car in the middle lane. Evidently it was their way of expressing their displeasure at this vehicle holding up traffic.

        It was immature, childish, and dangerous – and every rider in that pack was AT LEAST 50 years old.


  2. BobbyD says:

    They are building motorcycles to go faster and faster every year. Florida top speed limit is 70 mph.
    Why not limit the top speed of a motorcycle can go to 85 mph. using a computer chip or governor.?

    Will this save a lot of needless motorcycle deaths?


    • Anonymous says:

      how sad sad for that young mans family im so sorry for their loss he was such an handsome young man how tragic——god be with you


  3. Anonymous says:

    Will miss you buddy.


  4. Anonymous says:

    Such a tradegy to loose someone so young. So many lives have been affected by this loss. Jamie you were a sweet kid and will be missed by so many. God has another Angel with him. Prayers out to the family.


  5. Magnolia says:

    Poor Jaime RIP :( so sad, he was so full of spirit and life. He rode bikes ever since I knew him the sad ironic thing is he had a tattoo on his back that said crash :,( prayers to his family and friends.


  6. ronnie says:

    jaime will forever be missed. no one i know was ever more filled with life. he only went for everything he wanted in life and cherished it. love u brother


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