Bunnell’s Faith Foust, 22, Killed, Boy Critical, Infant Saved in Head-On Crash on South Old Dixie
FlaglerLive | January 2, 2015
Last Updated: Saturday, 8:19 a.m.
Faith Christian Foust, 22, of Bunnell, was killed and four people injured, two of them children, in a two-vehicle, head-on wreck on South Old Dixie Highway near St. Joseph’s Carmelite Monastery later Friday afternoon.
The wreck took place just after 4 p.m. on a straight stretch of the two-lane highway, involving a white Ford F-350 pick-up truck with oversize wheels and a white Jeep Cherokee that, in the immediate aftermath of the crash, was too severely damaged to be clearly identified.
The pick-up and the Jeep collided head-on, catapulting the Jeep into a watery ditch on the west side of the road. The pick-up ended up on its side, straddling the width of the road.
A neighbor who’d been sitting on his porch heard the crash. “No horns, no skidding, nothing,” the man said. “Just BAM, really loud.”
Foust was driving the Jeep. She was killed. Her son, about 3, was in the back seat, next her daughter, who’s about 1. Flagler County Fire Rescue paramedics worked on the boy for 15 to 20 minutes before transporting him to a helicopter, which evacuated the boy to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach. He was later taken to a critical care unit at Ormond Memorial.
Jennifer Altamirano, a 39-year-old resident of Palm Coast, was driving by with her mother and, before paramedics arrived, rescued the 1-year-old girl by crawling through the shattered rear window of the car and pulling out the child, after hearing her scream.
Roberto C. Mcleskey, 22, of Gainesville, was at the wheel of the F350, with passenger Carlee Rae Bruno, 20, of Ormond Beach. They were were transported to Florida Hospital Flagler with minor injuries. According to FHP, Mcleskey was going east, Foust was going west.“Both vehicles collided head-on in the drivers’ apparent attempt to avoid a collision with each other,” FHP’s crash report states. “The preliminary investigation indicates that [Mcleskey] had overcorrected, to prevent from leaving the roadway, into the westbound lane and was returning to the eastbound lane as [Foust] entered the eastbound lane from the westbound lane as part of an evasive maneuver.”
“My friend passed away a couple of weeks ago, we were trying to find the church to talk to the people of when the funeral is tomorrow,” Joann Lee, Altamirano’s mother, said. Lee was driving as the pair happened by the wreck. They had driven by the very spot of the wreck only moments earlier in their search. “It would have been us, basically. We missed it by, like, seconds,” Lee said.
“When we came up, we thought it was a tractor trailer and the cab,” Lee said. The scene of the wreck even from a short distance looks as if the car in the ditch were a truck’s severed cab.
“The car was smoking, the baby was screaming, my daughter flew out of the car and ran down there,” Lee said. “There was a retired EMT there, he couldn’t get into the vehicle, and no one else wanted to climb in, so she just dove in the water, jumped in the car and grabbed the baby. We thought the little boy was dead, and we were telling them on the phone, we have two dead, the mother and the little boy, but then my daughter heard the little boy moan and breathe and then I saw him move and I screamed ‘He’s alive, tell them to get here!,’ you know.”
Lee described the sedan as having its whole engine come up, obliterating the front seat area. So the boy was “basically looking like he was in the front seat, and he was pinned in, we couldn’t get him out, we tried, we couldn’t get the door, we couldn’t do anything to get him out, but then finally the fire department came and took him out with the Jaws of Life. He was not in good shape.”
The youngest child was behind the woman, who Lee presumed was the children’s mother.
“I heard the baby from here, sitting here,” Altamirano said, as she sat in her car, some 50 yards away from the wreck scene, still trying to calm her nerves almost an hour after the wreck. “I heard the baby screaming. I just jumped out. When I hear a baby crying, obviously something is wrong when I see that so I ran over there,” and jumped in as instinct took over. She heard the little boy gasp, “so I knew the little boy was still alive, I just couldn’t get him out of the thing.” Altamirano paused, shaken again by her inability to get to the boy.
“I wasn’t really thinking. I was not thinking. I was just trying to get that baby out of there, and hopefully get the little boy out. That’s what I wanted to do,” Altamirano, who is a mother herself, said.
On her Facebook page, Foust described herself as a “full-time Mom” who had just started nursing studies at Daytona State College.
A handgun was among the possessions authorities later recovered from inside the truck. John’s Towing removed both vehicles and had them both towed from the scene by 8 p.m., when South Old Dixie re-opened to traffic.