Horse Killed, 2 People Injured, One Gravely, in Massive Wreck on SR100 and CR305
FlaglerLive | June 6, 2013
Last Updated: Friday, 2:35 p.m. p.m.
Kathleen Stevens of New Smyrna Beach, who was driving a pick-up truck, was severely injured, the horse she was trailing was killed, and Mario Gomez, who was driving an armored truck that collided with the pick-up, was hurt in a massive, rain-soaked collision at the intersection of State Road 100 and County Road 305 at 3:30 Thursday afternoon.
Both lanes of State Road 100 were closed to traffic from 305 to County Road 302 as investigators, paramedics and police were at the wreck scene. The lanes reopened by 6 p.m.
The pick-up overturned in a ditch, dragging the horse trailer with it. Stevens, 55, had to be extracted in a 54-minute long, laborious and painful process before she was taken with two broken legs to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach, by ground ambulance. She was conscious and alert throughout the procedure.
The armored truck belongs to Garda. It was on the clock. It was carrying money. At 5 p.m., a second Garda truck arrived to pick up the cargo of the truck involved in the wreck. Gomez, 50, suffered a broken arm. He is from Orlando. He was taken to Florida Hospital Flagler. Edwin Perez Feliciano, 27, of Orlando, who was riding in the armored truck, was not injured.
“Preliminary investigative findings,” Florida Highway Patrol trooper Daniel Schlosser said at the scene, “indicate that the armored car was traveling westbound, towards Palatka. The pick-up truck with the trailer was coming eastbound towards Bunnell. There was a vehicle stopped in the westbound lane to make a left-hand turn onto County Road 305. According to the witness, which is the gentleman that is in the armored car, when the driver [of the armored car] hit the brakes, he started spinning, and eventually crossed over and hit the pick-up truck in the eastbound lane.”
Charges are pending against Gomez of the armored truck. Depending on the results of the investigation, “He may be cited for either careless driving or too fast for conditions,” the trooper said. The road was wet at the time of the wreck.
The wreck took place between 3:20 and 3:25 p.m.
Flagler County Fire Chief Don Petito was also at the scene. He spoke minutes after Stevens had been extracted from the pick-up truck, as he congratulated paramedics collecting tools and instruments they’d used around the wreckage.
“She was trapped in the driver seat, inverted like the car is,” on the passenger side of the truck, Petito said, “and her feet were trapped underneath the dashboard, in the pedals. So what they had to do, they had to cut the roof off, like you can see here, the door was cut off, and then they had to cut the dash and raise it up a little bit to get in and get her feet out from underneath of all the pedals. Once they got all that, they cut the seatbelt, then a bunch of guys lowered her down onto the backboard and pulled her out.”
The extraction took 54 minutes. There was a baby seat in the center of the back seat, unoccupied at the time of the wreck.
“While she was there,” Petito continued, “there were a couple of paramedics that were in there with her, talking to her, they started an IV, gave her oxygen, tried to calm her, made sure she was covered while all the cutting was going on, and then explain to her exactly what was going on while it was going on so she knew what was happening. She was very calm until we started pulling her out, until the pain increases–when we start pulling her out of there. She’d broken her legs, so I’m sure she felt that pain.”
Petito had not gotten the full report on her injuries, but said as far as he knew immediately after the extraction, the two broken legs were the extent of it.
Flagler County Fire Rescue units responded to the wreck, as did FHP, the sheriff’s office and the Palm Coast Fire Police, which diverted traffic.
After the ambulance had left, Bess Wall, a Flagler County teacher and rancher, arrived to take charge of the horse.
“The horse will be buried,” Wall said, “and if the owner wants to know where it’s buried, then well tell the owner where it’s buried, other than that nobody else will know where it’s buried. But it’s going to be buried, because that’s what needs to be done.”
Describing the procedure that was to follow, she said: “The only thing you can do is pull it out, put it on a trailer and pull it into the woods and bury it.” A Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy in charge of agricultural matters was coordinating with Wall how to proceed. Wall estimated that it was a barrel horse, but hadn’t yet conducted a closer inspection. She could not tell the horse’s age. The horse remained in the trailer until it was pulled out and placed on a trailer. Wall was going to visit the horse’s owner afterward, at the hospital.
“I’m going to go visit her, I know that, I’ll go talk to her when she’s feeling a little better, and just let her know what’s happened to the horse,” Wall said.
“I know what it is, because I lost three mules down here back when the mules were killed about four years ago on the road. So I have an understanding of the heart–the hurt–that it is.”