Last Updated: 4:24 p.m. Tuesday
Five people were killed and three injured in a three-vehicle crash late this morning (Feb. 5) at the notoriously dangerous intersection of Old Dixie Highway and U.S. 1, by the White Eagle lounge, in Korona.
It is the deadliest vehicle crash on Flagler County roads since five people were killed when a van flipped and crashed into the woods on I-95 on Dec. 5, 2010 just north of the Palm Coast Parkway intersection.
The crash took place at around 11:30 Sunday morning. It involved a pick-up truck, a sedan and a small SUV–the vehicle that carried all five victims who were killed. Early indications at the scene are that all five victims are adults. But some had yet to be extricated from the vehicle, which may have been struck from two directions. The extrication was completed at 2:35 p.m., and the medical examiner was taking the bodies to St. Augustine.
The victims were four women and a man, ranging in age from 53 to 74.
“They’re not local, they’re not from this area here,” Florida Highway Patrol Captain Michael DuBois said at the scene. FHP later reported them to be from Miramar, Miami and Pembroke Pines.
FHP identified them only at 2:14 on Tuesday afternoon as follows: Edwin Santana, 58, of Miramar, Maria Rosario Cedeno, 74, or Miami, Olga Melania Nunez, 70, of Miramar, Gloria Santana, 53, of Pembroke Pines, and Sonia Elena Melendez, 64, of Pembroke Pines. Edwin Santana was the driver.
Two adults and a child were hospitalized, Sheriff Rick Staly, who as at the scene, said. (The child was reportedly released from the hospital around 2 p.m. Sunday.) They were Jessica Walker, 22, and Elizabeth Walker, 4, of Bunnell. They had minor injuries. They were passengers in a pick-up truck driven by Christopher Rose, 34, of Bunnell. Louis Krombholz, 72, of Ormond Beach, was driving a Camry. He sustained minor injuries. All the injured were taken to Florida Hospital Flagler.
Based on preliminary findings by investigators at the scene, the Mazda SUV was traveling west on Old Dixie Highway, which dead-ends at a stop sign at the intersection with U.S. 1. The pick-up truck, a Ford F-250, was traveling north, in the right lane of U.S. 1. The third vehicle, a Toyota Camry, was traveling south on U.S. 1.
The SUV pulled out of Old Dixie onto U.S.1, seeking to make a left to go south on the highway, when it was t-boned by the pick-up truck. Just then, the Camry was preparing to make a left onto Old Dixie Highway, and was struck either by the truck or the SUV, after those two vehicles had collided.
Two of the three vehicles ended up in the median, the third, carrying the victims, was in the middle of the intersection, toward the southbound lanes.
The crash closed U.S. 1 in both directions north and south of the intersection with Old Dixie Highway. The investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol is expected to take several hours.
Stacey Peters, a 55-year-old resident of Korona, was pulling up at the White Eagle at the very moment of the crash.
“I’d just pulled up here, in back of White Eagle,” he said, “I heard an explosion, like a bomb going off.” He didn’t actually see the crash, but immediately rushed out across the parking lot to the scene. “I just ran to give first aid,” he said, but there was complete silence in the vehicle most damaged. “I didn’t hear nothing. Thank God I think they died instantly, there was no movement, nothing, or I’d have tried to do something.”
David Weatherington, a 55-year-old resident of the same area who was also at the White Eagle, said he was with Peters, trying to give first aid. He too saw that there was little that could be done just then. “I started directing traffic,” he said.
An older man was at the wheel of the smaller car involved in the crash. A man, a woman, a child and a dog were in the white pick-up truck. The man was at the scene, speaking with authorities or on his cell phone.
He and his family had been on their way home from the grocery store, FHP’s DuBois said, with their goods stacked in the bed of the truck. Many of those goods, including propane tanks, ended up in the median.
“As of right now, it does not appear that any alcohol was involved,” DuBois noted.
Early indications were that the victims were from the Miami area.
Staly was about to receive communion at church when he was paged with a report of the crash. He arrived at the scene shortly afterward because of the seriousness of the situation.
“This has been a dangerous intersection for a long time,” he said, “we’ve had a lot of fatalities here. A flashing light is probably not enough.” Staly said he will urge the Florida Department of Transportation to install a permanent traffic light at the intersection.
As a result of today’s crash, he said, he activated the sheriff’s office’s Critical Incident Stress Management team, which provides responding deputies and personnel at the 911 dispatch center with counseling services to prevent adverse psychological reactions to what responders hear and see at the scene. “The deputies are holding up well,” the sheriff said, but the severity of such scenes can take a toll even on seasoned responders, some of whom were clearly shaken up. The incident is considered a mass-casualty incident by the sheriff’s office.
Flagler County Fire Rescue’s Caryn Prather, who’s developed the county’s Critical Incident Stress Management team, was off duty today but ended up at the scene within 15 or 20 minutes of the wreck, and spend the rest of the day with her CISM team counseling and later debriefing members of the department. FHP had its team at the ready as well.
Aside from the traffic being redirected across the White Eagle parking lot from westbound lanes of Old Dixie, onto the northbound lanes of U.S. 1, the disquieting silence of crash scene had fallen at what would normally be a busy intersection. Flagler County Fire Rescue and Palm Coast Fire Department personnel worked to extricate the victims. Several units of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and FHP were also there, with the Palm Coast Fire Police regulating what little traffic was trickling out of Old Dixie, and stopping it altogether at Seminole Woods Boulevard to the north, and further south of the crash scene.
Outside the White Eagle, a few people milled about, disbelieving. “Absolutely awful. Oh my God,” a woman said, before going inside.
Roger’s Towing of Bunnell was at the scene before 3 p.m. in preparation for the wreckage operation, and began removing the pick-up truck and the Camry shortly after 3 p.m.
Traffic was flowing again in both directions on U.S. 1 by 4 p.m.
Vicki and Brian Nixon says
So sad, so many fatals here in the past month , People PLEASE DRIVE SAFE! PRAYERS TO ALL.
Arlene Smith says
This is so sad. Prayers to all the families and friends and to those involved in the accident. There have been so many wrecks.
Arlene Smith says
Yes there have been way to many fatal accidents and accidents.
So so sad….anymore info on names at this time?
Wishful Thinking says
As sent to Flager County Commissioner who district this disaster just happened:
Please add under Board Comments at the February 6 Commission Meeting the need to request FDOT for a real traffic light at this very very dangerous intersection and, before we have another accident like the one at the other end of Old Dixie on the southern I-95 off ramp – a proper stop sign is needed there with a flashing yellow light at night where the old red and white ‘Yield’ sign sits unnoticed. Both recent deadly accidents were in Flagler County District 3”
Thank you.. This is awful. Far too many crashes.
Get our road lights, our beautification, road repairs as soon as you can while you are blessed to have Faith Alkhatib as the county’s chief engineer.
Steven wood says
Well maybe this tragedy will get the stop light put there. There needs some kind of traffic management there not just a yellow flashing light.
wishful thinking says
To: Steven Wood – sorry for confusion. Real light requested at US 1 . The ‘flashing yellow light requested at the other end of Old Dixie at the junction-merge of the I-95 Southern off ramp where 2 people on a motorcycle were recently killed.
Concerned Citizen says
My condolences to the victims families It is always hard to loose a loved one regardless of the situation.
I hope this will persuade FDOT to finally get a permanent traffic light installed at this location. I hope that Sheriff Staley and our County Commissioners will push this issue and if necessary take it to Tallahassee. Spend more time on making intersections and roadways safer and less time making them pretty.
To everyone out there driving on our roads there have been WAY TO MANY accidents and fatalities. There is no reason for all of the aggressive,distracted and reckless driving.
You don’t have the right to speed because you are running late for work, church or getting to your favorite bar. You don’t have the right to cut someone off or not yield right of way just because you THINK you are in a hurry and need to save a minute. Stay off the cell phones and other devices and focus on driving.
To the FCSO we need more traffic enforcement on our roads. Stop hiding in the parking lots and parking garages and chatting with your buddies. Get out there and make a presence. Enforce our laws and maybe just maybe the message will get across.
I know this is wishful thinking but maybe if we were ALL just a little more careful and thoughtful then we wouldn’t have to open flaglerlive on a Sunday afternoon and read about another tragic accident and lives taken from us way to soon.
Another traffic will help but it DOES NOT keep drivers from pulling out in front of other drivers in other intersections.Case in point the accident at 304 &305.
I used to live in first house on left there in 1983..I saw more then one accident there and saw a fatality also…You would think with the amount of accidents there dot would do something….People don’t realize how quick a car doing 70 mph is on you when you pull out
My thoughts says
One of the problems with this intersection when driving west bound on Old Dixie are the double stop signs. One at Old Dixie and County Road 325 and then immediate another stop sign at US1. For somebody unfamiliar with this may stop at the first sign and then proceed across US 1. Very sad.
Mike T says
Is it a true intersection–or a “T” with a stop sign. If it is this bad then they need stop signs on the thru street.
….you don’t need a stop light there. You need people who pay attention while they drive. Why are people blaming the city and the road instead of saying “wel maybe people should actually pay attention”
Maybe I’m insensitive but you’re not toddlers and I’m pretty sure I was taught to watch where I’m going when I was a toddler. There’s no way to prevent accidents like that unless you actually pay attention.
Slow down and stop endangering my life …RIP
Denise Milam says
I’m sorry, but I feel the traffic lights should have already been up. How many people have to die before those in charge do something about it. It’s obviously an extremely dangerous roadway. One person dying was way too many at this intersection. People already stated other fatalities have happened. RIP 😢
Michele R says
God Bless all involved and first responders. Unless they
We’re going super fast, that Mazda should of protected them better
This breaks my hearts
The Geode says
Why don’t we put a “traffic signal” on EVERY intersection in the County and while we’re at it, let’s install lights EVERY 100 feet on EVERY road. Why must the Government intervene on common sense and lack of paying attention issues? That intersection has been in the SAME spot since the days of the “auction house” when traffic was really crazy. What has changed since then? Cell phones and our lack of attentiveness! PAY ATTENTION PEOPLE!
This is so tragic, but not unusual considering that US1 is treated as if it’s Flagler county’s answer to the Autobahn, not to mention how County Rd 325 is treated the same way. Hopefully FDOT will do the correct thing and install a traffic signal and the county patrol 325 more frequently. People use it as a shortcut through the subdivision speeding without regard to the fact that children are sometimes playing nearby.
That area has been a killing field for many decades. Prayers to the families of the victims.
It doesn’t matter what car you’re in if you get t boned by an F-150. They weigh over 7,000 lbs. empty.
Just My 2¢ says
Thoughts with all the victims of this terrible tragedy.
Traffic lights and more traffic lights. More cars on the road, underskilled drivers, more distractions, and people going way too fast — all make for way too many fatal accidents.
The side streets off Belle Terre Parkway are just wrecks waiting to happen. People turning left are targets. As the residential areas grow, the infrastructure of the roads must accommodate more activity.
A no brainer.
you are correct, even worse when its a f-250 like the one in this crash.
When I was a kid the speed limit nationwide was 55. It should go down back to that in Florida or other vacation states with lots of elderly and people from out of town who are not familiar with the area.
It’s not the area, it’s not the vehicles, it’s quite simple: poor human judgement
Ron R. says
A very good point raised by “My Thought Says”. Two stop signs in such close proximity (no more than 75′ apart) might be very confusing for someone not familiar with the area. I’m not sure why there is a need for a stop sign at CR 325 anyway — can’t be much traffic coming out of 325.
Steven wood says
Well I used to own a f 150 they do not weigh 7000lbs. The reason there needs to be a red light there is for the unintentiveness the drivers of today have. I’ve also been here awhile and know just how bad that intersection is. Foe people to say they don’t need a light there is mainly because they personally do not want to be bothered with it. When it’s a heavily traveled road like Old Dixie or 304 on up the road there should be lights just like up at Seminole Woods and Belle Terre. It’s scarey to go thru there when cars are at the intersection. People are in a hurry in today’s world and need to be controlled so this does not happen. RIP.
Warren glover says
I worked at shop behind white eagle and have watched several people on bikes and in cars either injured or killed at this intersection,people constantly suggest a traffic light or closing crossover there but nothing happens,how many have to die for DOT or someone addresses the problem?
Elderly people need to stop driving and given free rides from uber or something
carol T says
I live on CR 325 and we desperately need a regular patrolman out there, as you said they cut across and thru Palm Coast and drive like bats out of hell with no regard for kids or bikers or other cars. It is only by the grace of God that some one hasn’t been killed at the intersection of Slow Way and County Rd. 325.
Ashley Reamer says
When will our tax dollars put a stop light at this intersection ??????
I saw thoses vehicles on my way home. I cant get that image out of my mind. And when i got home I heard 5 people had died. So horrible. Andy 2 friends were the 1st on the scene. Which was so terrible to see.
Please pray for my family and for all of the families involved in this terrible accident.
42 yr Karona Resident says
First and foremost, prayers to the victims and their families. It had to be a horrible scene so my thoughts and prayers are also with the people who ran out there to try and help and then all the first responders who will have these images in their minds for a long time. I have read all the previous comments and agree with most. I would say the minimum speed through this area is 75 to 80mph. There isn’t enough done to control this, I have to pull out on US1 everyday and sometimes it takes several minutes. I use this very intersection at least 5 times a week. I thought it was a joke when they put up the caution light, nobody cares. The STOP sign at end of Old Dixie and the one at US1 are generally treated as rolling stops. The YIELD sign is a huge joke too, most ppl don’t even know what to do. I could keep going with all the issues I see on a daily basis but I think that is enough for now. I have seen way to many wrecks and DEATHS at this intersection. WE NEED A REAL TRAFFIC LIGHT AT THIS INTERSECTION!!!!!!!! I bet if you drive 1 mile in each direction from this intersection you will count about 10 tributes to ppl who have died. COMMISSIONERS-FDOT-WHOEVER; Saving lives is more important than worrying about where you are going to plant your next damn Palm Tree!
Sadly, the FCSO does not provide traffic enforcement.
Don’t believe me? Observe any intersection, see how many vehicles ‘roll’ through their stop.
Don’t believe me? Borrow a cheapie baseball teams radar unit. Everyone speeds.
Don’t believe me? How many fatalities within the past 12 months?
Welcome to the Flagler County Speedway, Open 24/7. No rules! Any roads. Free Admission.
Please please get a real traffic light here to many accidents happen at this location. To many people have lost their life’s .
Lorin Wilder says
This is why we need a traffic light here. I’ve seen way too many accidents at this intersection. Every day pulling out here I see too many people that either don’t understand how right of way works, or aren’t paying enough attention (or miss something even when they are paying attention). I think the flashing light did help, but perhaps more is needed to prevent tragedies like this in the future.
@Grieving- I am so terribly sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you and your family.
This is a semi-blind intersection of the four lane US Highway 1 mid s-curve and Old Dixie Highway. Both roads feature high speed limits. Ignoring the problem solves nothing. Adding traffic control lights with adequate warning downroad would greatly enhance vehicular safety. Straightening out the s-curve and realigning the intersection would be the most effective route to take but would be economically impractical.
We all know what it’s like to have that moment of distraction that almost becomes a disaster. I am frequently at that intersection. I can imagine the people were not familiar with the area, pulled up to US1, may have looked south, seeing the truck at a distance, looked north and started crossing, then possibly slowed as the camry approached, leaving them in the path of the truck (obviously not realizing it!) For all of you perfect drivers out there that just LOVE to blame others, rocks…glass houses….sound familiar?? Be very careful when you criticize others. It may come back to haunt you. And yes, there needs to be a traffic light installed there.
Its worse during bike week!!! says
Having lived in Halifax Plantation off old Dixie, Now in PC off Seminole woods road, Ive negotiated this intersection a lot. There are a few funky things going on right there not everyone is aware off. First is you just have 75MPH traffic heading North, there is not much south of there after you leave Destination Daytona area, I think maybe one light for Plantation Bay but even after that, it may as well be I-95, then a bend and Wham!!! You got bikes pulling out slow because the White Eagle parking lot is a mess of heavily rutted gravel, spread all over the road, so a careful biker will take that into consideration and not skid out. You have that little road behind the Eagle, which goes back to a good sized neighborhood, you have large developments like Halifax plantation and plantation bay and a couple others that have limited access (theres only 2 ways in P Bay, on either side of that intersection. Look on Google earth or maps and see what I mean.) Also, the road is uneven there, if you head south and make a left on old dixie without slowing down your tire howl from the off camberness (Big hump in middle). That whole intersection should be redesigned, re-graded, re paved, lose that gravel lot across dixie from the eagle and and make a dedicated lane for those turning right. Theres going to be a forrest of those metal “In memory of” lollipops right there…
As a member of the extended family of three of the five victims and friend to the other two I would like to thank the Flagler First Responders and FHP for all that they did to take care of these five lively individuals. Their presence in our and their families’ lives will be truly missed.
They were from the Miami area and definitely not familiar with the highway surroundings.
May their souls rest in Peace as God welcomes them into his arms.
It was an f250 at 8 lbs
That’s weird because I work for the FCSO and let me explain this to you. We enforce traffic so don’t sit there in your chair and tell me I don’t. Know what you’re talking about.
Patty Weekley says
Wow that was actually a F250 ..three quarter ton…
Old Lady says
I just pray that people will pay attention as they drive, So sad
I just watched a cop witness a vehicle run a red light at a high speed and didn’t do anything about it. I had the green light to go, glad I didn’t.
Have almost hit people more times then I can count on Old Kings just south of McDonald`s, and Palm Coast Parkway, you have people crossing from condo`s, people in the street from hotels, homeless coming from woods to go to convenience store , it`s pitch dark…..you do not see them till they are right in front of you , stop wasting money on beautification, and spend it on safety , it might of been okay like this when population was under control , but your greed has roads over loaded and people every where , sidewalks and lights are a MUST……I hit someone I`m suing the shit out of the city!!!
Old Lady says
There is no need for studies and lights JUST PAY ATTENTION
Pericles Xanthippou says
Indeed, Madame. Hence my interest in the account of the crash given by the person at the controls of the white pick-up.
. (a) Nothing in these Rules shall exonerate any vessel, or the owner, master or crew thereof, from the consequences of any neglect to comply with these Rules or of the neglect of any precaution which may be required by the ordinary practice of seamen, or by the special circumstances of the case
. (b) In construing and complying with these rules due regard shall be had to all dangers of navigation and collision and to any special circumstances, including the limitations of the vessels involved, which may make a departure from these rules necessary to avoid immediate danger
(From the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea)
Anywhere you have to cross half way to get to the middle and stop there to make sure you’re clear puts you at the chance of getting hit. There’s no turn lanes so you’re exposed there waiting for that side of the road to clear before continuing on. It’s very rare that you can actually cross both sides of US1 without having to stop in the middle. Real lights are needed there. Period!
Pericles Xanthippou says
Are you saying, Sandra, that it’s not possible to wait at the yield sign till there be room in the median strip for your vehicle?
There’s no yield. At the stop sign, to go left, you have to go to the center, then wait for traffic to be clear coming from the right before continuing. If someone is coming in the the left lane and they don’t see you, you’re going to get hit because there’s no turning lanes so you’re sitting there waiting for someone to let you into traffic.
Pericles Xanthippou says
So … don’t enter the intersection at all whilst the median strip is blocked. It’s not rocket science!
All right, what I called ‘the yield sign’ is actually a stop sign. The only difference between a yield sign and a stop sign is the requirement to bring the vehicle to a complete stop; in both cases one must yield to traffic on the major road.
That a stop sign exists here where, in my respectful submission, a yield sign would suffice, is due only to the ignorance of American lawmakers that permits the installation of a stop sign where only a yield sign is really justified. (Any-one with a driving license — or without, for all I know — is allowed to become a traffic planner; no real understanding of driving is required.)
What ever you call it, the line joining the county road with U.S.1 is the point at which the black S.U.V. ought to have waited till able to enter the gap in the median strip.
My question — which pertains to the speed of approach of the pick-up — is this: What allowance did the person in command of that vehicle make for the entirely foreseeable possibility of the S.U.V.’s drawing across his path?
Far too much reliance is placed upon the observance by ‘other road users’ of the obligations seemingly placed upon them by the law.
Just tonight as I was coming off US1 going to go down 325 a car pulled from the first stop sign on Old Dixie and could have been the 6th cross there but as I am retired and am aware of my surrondings I stopped before I made contact. The look I was given was that it was my fault. One thing he would never knew what hit him from my pickup. We have to assume that he made the assumption that I was turning right and not going onto 325 and that he couldn’t wait a few seconds. While we are talking those empty police cars don’t really work because the speeders don’t really care. The intersection cams are under big attack because they can’t be beat. The change is I was tought to stop if you can on yellow lights and now the thought is to try and make it. Well I covered a few things.Oh, I saw a biker was killed a few years back when a driver pulled out of that gas station in front of him and was not held on any charges for the death.
please dont let this happen again. to any other family. i lost my unt. she was like my mother and im broken harder. i dont know what to do , im thinking of her all the time. im dont know what to do. i missing her. put a. cross ligth please dont let other fatality happen there