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Charles Ownbey, 72, Is Killed In Motorcycle Wreck on I-95, South of Palm Coast Parkway

| February 20, 2014

The motorcycle ended in a waterlogged ditch alongside I-95. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The motorcycle ended in a waterlogged ditch alongside I-95. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Last Updated: 5:45 p.m.

Charles Ownbey, a 72-year-old motorcyclist riding a rented Harley-Davidson with his 59-year-old wife Rebecca Ownbey, was killed early this afternoon off the southbound lanes of I-95 when he lost control of the motorcycle, sending the bike across the paved shoulder, through a wood-line and into a knee-deep, waterlogged ditch.

An earlier witness report to 911 had attributed the crash to a tire blowing, but when the motorcycle was retrieved from the water at 5 p.m., three hours after the crash, both of the bike’s tires were still fully inflated.

Rebecca Ownbey survived with non life-threatening injuries. She was transported top Florida Hospital Flagler, where she was undergoing surgery late in the afternoon.

The Ownbeys, from Dalton, Ga., had rented the Harley-Davidson this morning and were on their way to returning it in Daytona Beach, and joining two sons, who were at the car races at the International Speedway.

The wreck took place at 2 p.m. About one mile south of the Palm Coast Parkway intersection.

A Florida Highway Patrol investigator at the scene said a witness saw the Ownbeys as they rode in the outside lane, ahead of the witness, who rode in the center lane. The Ownbeys were not speeding. They were going perhaps 70 or 72. At some point, very suddenly, “the motorcycle acted like it had a problem, and it just went down on its side,” the investigator said. The motorcycle traveled on its side first past the paved shoulder, then onto the grass embankment, then slammed against two young, adjoining trees. The motorcycle sheared the youngest of the two tree from the base of its trunk and left a gash on the slightly thicker tree, continuing into the waterlogged ditch. The motorcycle ended in the water, the small tree alongside it.


Charles Ownbey, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was dragged with the motorcycle into the water. Rebecca, from what the preliminary investigation has concluded, appears to have been knocked off the bike, perhaps by the second tree, just before the bike ended up in the water. Rebecca was thrown onto the grassy shoulder, where another passerby who’d stopped covered her with a blanket and comforted her before paramedics and the Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene.

The Medical Examiner took possession of the body at 3:53 p.m. Helmets were retrieved from the scene as was, around 5 p.m.

Until 2:45 p.m., traffic on I-95 South flowed normally, as emergency vehicles lined the shoulder but the wreck itself was not visible to passing motorists. Traffic began to slow and back up after 2:45 p.m. As Florida Highway Patrol homicide investigators arrived at the scene and began work that usually takes several hours. The Palm Coast Fire Police was directing traffic away from the outside lane, causing the back-up.

But by 4:30 p.m., traffic was flowing normally again. Flagler County Fire Rescue and the Palm Coast Fire Department responded to the scene. John’s Towing retrieved the motorcycle by 5:30 p.m.

Images from the scene will post shortly.

The motorcycle struck two trees, ripping the smaller tree, to the right, from just above its roots and taking it with it into the water, while leaving a gash on the larger tree. The chain visible at the foot of the larger tree was not there at the time of the wreck. It was placed there by the wrecker moments before the motorcycle was retrieved. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The motorcycle struck two trees, ripping the smaller tree, to the right, from just above its roots and taking it with it into the water, while leaving a gash on the larger tree. The chain visible at the foot of the larger tree was not there at the time of the wreck. It was placed there by the wrecker moments before the motorcycle was retrieved. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)


The motorcycle and the tree it struck and took down. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The motorcycle and the tree it struck and took down. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)


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

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


A broader view of the wreck scene alongside the southbound lanes of I-95. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

A broader view of the wreck scene alongside the southbound lanes of I-95. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)


The motorcycle out of the water. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The motorcycle out of the water. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)


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

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


The motorcycle's dash after the bike was retrieved. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The motorcycle’s dash after the bike was retrieved. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)


Traffic backed up considerably, but not for long. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Traffic backed up considerably, but not for long. 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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6 Responses for “Charles Ownbey, 72, Is Killed In Motorcycle Wreck on I-95, South of Palm Coast Parkway”

  1. Girl says:

    So terrible, prayers for him and family -rip

  2. Genie says:

    Prayers going up. I’m doing that a lot lately.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Charles was a great family man and father. He was an honorable trustworthy man. He was a hard worker and loved life. He was loved by everyone that knew him.

  4. Pam Mullins says:

    Rebecca,
    We are all praying for you and the family in Dalton Ga.
    We love you

  5. Ray Griffin says:

    Charles was a great family man, father, trustworthy, honest, and friend. Everyone that knew Charles loved him. Charles loved his life and worked hard. He will be greatly missed by many people. God bless, God speed Charles.

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