Sheriff Issues Report of Crash Involving Deputy and Driver’s Right-of-Way Violation
FlaglerLive | March 27, 2014
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday issued the crash report detailing the circumstances surrounding wreck involving a sheriff’s deputy and a Bunnell resident outside Grand Reserve in Bunnell.
Colby N. Mikloiche was cited for violating a right of way after Deputy John Bray, a 12-year veteran of the agency, rear-ended Mickloiche’s pick-up truck outside the entrance to Grand Reserve, on U.S. 1. The crash investigation, which is ongoing, was conducted by the Sheriff’s Office’s Sgt. Michael van Buren.
Bray was at the wheel of his 2008 Ford Crown Victoria. Mickloiche, 19, a resident of Goldview Court, was driving a 2000 Ford F-350 pick-up truck.
Mickloiche told van Buren that he had just come out of the Grand Reserve subdivision, turning left onto the southbound lanes of U.S 1. Mickloiche said he took the left-side, or inside lane. He saw the sheriff’s cruiser but thought it was in the outside, right-hand lane “and must have been changing lanes to the inside,” the report states, “when the crash occurred.” The report notes that lighting conditions at 6:59 a.m., when the crash took place, were dark and without street lighting. “There is also a left hand turn lane that might have been mistaken by [Mickloiche] to be the inside” lane, the report states.
Bray, who was seriously injured in the crash and transported to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach, where he underwent surgery, was not able to recall details of the crash when van Buren initially spoke to him.
The crash was witnessed by another driver, Albert Johnson of Palm Coast. Johnson told van Buren that he was traveling behind Bray’s cruiser since both had turned south onto U.S. 1 from White View Drive in Palm Coast. Johnson was in the outside lane at the time, Bray in the inside lane. As Bray approached Grand Reserve, Mickloiche’s pick-up pulled into the inside lane, according to Johnson, right in front of Bray. Johnson said Bray never applied the brakes, but “appeared to swerve right just prior to impact in an effort to avoid the collision.”
The point of impact was near the center line between the inside and outside lane, the report states, with scuff marks indicating that Bray was veering right at the point of impact. The left-front corner of the Crown Victoria struck the right-rear bumper of the pick-up truck. After the impact, the left side of the cruiser continued to scrape up the right side of the pick-up, cutting the pick-up’s right-rear tire striking the tool compartment. The truck bed of the pick-up “protruded” into the windshield of the deputy’s cruiser, contributing to Bray’s injuries.
The crash report states that Mickloiche was cited for “violation of right of way for entering the highway from a stop sign into [Bray’s] travel lane when [Bray’s cruiser] was approaching so closely on said highway as to constitute an immediate hazard.”
On Tuesday, the investigative deputy requested that the Florida Highway Patrol analyze deputy Bray’s cruiser’s black box for data that will show the speed at which he was traveling at the time of the collision. That analysis has not yet been produced.
Bray, the crash report notes from available evidence, was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. (Florida has a mandatory seat belt law, with fines of $30 for failure to wear a seat belt.)
The investigation is ongoing. It is still not clear why the sheriff’s office, rather than Bunnell police or the Florida Highway Patrol, is conducting the investigation, though the sheriff’s office has done such investigations on its own personnel when it’s determined that the deputy driving is not at fault.