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2 Maintenance Workers in Critical Condition After Vehicle Strikes Them in Palm Coast’s Town Center

| March 9, 2015

The vehicle involved in the wreck in Town Center Monday morning, next to an Austin Outdoors truck. The mower that was also involved is behind the truck. (© FlaglerLive)

The vehicle involved in the wreck in Town Center Monday morning, next to an Austin Outdoors truck. The mower that was also involved is behind the truck. (© FlaglerLive)

Last Updated: March 10, 5:18 p.m.

Two lawn maintenance workers–Juan Escobedo-Gonzales, 46, of Crescent City, and Jose Antonio Lira, 36, of Pierson–were critically injured Monday morning when a vehicle struck them while they were working in Palm Coast’s Town Center.


One of the workers was in “life-threatening condition,” according to Sgt. Dylan Bryan, spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol. Another worker was “in critical condition,” Bryan said. Initially, one or both were taken to nearby Florida Hospital Flagler because an immediate flight to Halifax could not be secured. One of the patients was to be flown from FHF’s helipad, but due to his condition the flight was scrubbed. Eventually, both individuals were taken to Halifax by ground.

Maintenance at Town Center is contracted to Austin Outdoors, several of whose officials were at the scene Monday morning.

The wreck took place on Brookhaven Drive, just off of Town Center Boulevard, around 9 a.m. Brian W. Earle, 23, of Brookhaven Court in Palm Coast, was driving a dark-blue Wolkswagen, heading east on Brookhaven. Maintenance workers had reduced the road to one lane with orange cones as they were doing their work. Escobedo-Gonzales and Lira were standing inside the protective area marked out by the cones, Bryan said, when Earle “violated the enclosure” and struck both workers.

“The driver did stop and is cooperating with investigators,” Bryan said.

The Palm Coast Fire Department, including Chief Mike Beadle, were at the scene of the wreck, along with Flagler County Fire Rescue, the Palm Coast Fire Police and at one point, a unit of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office. The ongoing investigation sealed off Brookhaven Drive and reduced the southbound lanes of Town Center Boulevard to one, but traffic was light and not impeded.

The identities of the workers or the drivers were not known until Tuesday. Earle was driving with a 20-year-old woman. Neither was injured. The crash report FHP released late Tuesday afternoon indicates that the Volkswagen struck the lawnmower that the two maintenance workers were working on–changing its blades–forcing the lawnmower onto the two workers.

In the call to 911 immediately after the crash, placed by Earle at 8:49 a.m., Earle was described as “hysterical” and wouldn’t answer further questions after indicating that he’d struck the workers with his car, and that one of the workers was under a truck. (An Austin Outdoors truck was parked on the road, just ahead of the mower, with the truck’s ramp down.) One of the victims was described as “barely breathing,” and both victims were described as having “a lot of blood coming from their heads.” The 911 transcript also confirms that an airway was not secured for the helicopter, requiring both men to be transported by ground, first to Florida Hospital Flagler, then to Halifax.

The investigation was ongoing at mid-morning Monday, and took place as emergency personnel was quickly called to different emergencies. Two Flagler County Fire Rescue units left the wreck scene at around 9:30 when smoke was reported at a Hair Cuttery salon in Palm Coast. The emergency turned out to be minor: an air conditioning unit had malfunctioned on the roof and sent smoke downstairs. An almost exactly similar situation then happened at Matanzas High School, again with an AC unit on the roof malfunctioning, sending smoke below, and calling out emergency personnel. Both issues were resolved.

The road in Town Center was reopened at

The lawnmower that was also involved in the morning's wreck. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The lawnmower that was also involved in the morning’s wreck. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

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13 Responses for “2 Maintenance Workers in Critical Condition After Vehicle Strikes Them in Palm Coast’s Town Center”

  1. Justin Case says:

    Welcome to Palm Coast!

  2. David S. says:

    Wow I hope that these guys survive ,its sad but this happens too many times in Fla .Too many people do not slow down as they approach these streets or highways PAY ATTENTION PEOPLE!!!!

  3. David S. says:

    May I ad that I was a Vol fireman in PG county in Md and you would not believe the countless times people would cut in front of the engine and ambo in rout to a call this conitnues today people are to busy doing other things ,talking on their cell or texting and not looking at the road.

  4. Outsider says:

    The problem is people speed through that area. Try going the posted speed limit of 25 MPH and see how many people pile up on your ass. Also, the roundabout should not be that difficult to negotiate, but for some it’s as if you are asking them to perform brain surgery; the degree of success for both would be similar, brain surgeons excluded. Best wishes to the injured and their families.

  5. Michael says:

    People start driving and stop doing every other dam thing in your cars, a car is a two ton killing machine. I watch people text, read, watch videos, do their makeup, if you are running behind everyday get up earlier. Driving is a obligation to safety, not an option, so please put down your phones pay attention and save a life.

  6. just me says:

    As that whole place is relatively empty people FLY through there its a25mph zone the whole place and lets not even talk about how people do not know how to use the traffic circles within it. my prays are with them both.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Any information on their condition now?

    • Co-Worker says:

      All I can really say is, that they are still alive and fighting…. They are in critical condition but stable for the moment.

  8. YankeeExPat says:

    “Initially, one or both were taken to nearby Florida Hospital Flagler because an immediate flight to Halifax could not be secured”………Is it me or does one need to wonder why Florida Hospital Flagler could not treat the accident victims?

    • Volunteer FireFighter says:

      To “YankeeExPat” — It’s not that Florida Hospital Flagler could not treat the accident victims because they can. The issue was because both men were Trauma Alerts, Halifax Hospital in daytona is the closest Trauma Center. All trauma patients typically go to Halifax, unless they are not stable enough to go then they would go to the nearest hospital. In this cause, due to the patients airways not stable, they were taken to Florida Hospital Flagler which they were stabililzed.

      • YankeeExPat says:

        Thank you for your insight Volunteer FireFighter says:
        So are you saying that Florida Hospital Flagler is not equipped or staffed to perform as a Trauma Center as would Halifax Hospital? I’m not trying to be adversarial but as a Flagler County resident I would like to hope the nearest hospital can fully serve its residents needs.

  9. confidential says:

    These two workers and their families need a good lawyer because is not possible that drivers are so careless and probably speeding thru working zones killing workers. Also the latest fatal car crashes around here were by drivers on their twenties speeding…are they charged higher insurances rates? Hope so.

  10. Unknown says:

    Any update on the drivers? Hoping they’re ok

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