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4 Hurt in Head-On Crash Between SUV and School, Bus at Royal Palms and Rymfire

| April 24, 2017

school bus crash with injuries

The crash took place at 6:40 a.m. at Rymfire Drive and Royal Pal;ms Parkway. Click on the image for larger view. (c FlaglerLive)

Note: For an update on this story, go here.

Four people were hurt including two children in a crash involving a school bus and an SUV at the intersection of Royal Palms Parkway and Rymfire Drive in Palm Coast this morning just before sunup. 

Two of the victims are children–a 6 year old and a 10 year old–though their injuries are not considered life-threatening. They were transported by rescue to Florida Hospital Flagler. They were riding in the SUV. Kimberly A. Pinnock, the 31-year-old driver of the SUV, was seriously hurt, and was transported by ground as a trauma alert to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach. The driver of the school bus was transported to Florida Hospital Flagler with non-life-threatening injuries. 

The crash involved a Bluebird school bus just starting its run, on its way to Buddy Taylor Middle School. It was being driven by Wilrick A. Woods, 60, a resident of Palm Coast’s P Section. (The school district as late as April 27 was refusing to release his name or years of service with the district.) Wilrick had just picked up a student near Thunder Gulch campground off of U.S. 1. The student, a boy, was not hurt in the crash, and was in school by 7:30 a.m., a school district spokesman said. The student is 15.

Wilrick was driving east on Royal Palms.  Pinnock was westbound on Royal Palms. The school bus–Number 20521–was starting to make a turn to get onto Rymfire Drive (south), and may have violated the SUV’s right-of-way: there are no traffic signals at the intersection, so eastbound traffic making left turns onto Rymfire is required to yield to westbound traffic. 

The SUV, a Dodge Durango,  slammed almost head-on into the school bus. The SUV’s front end was unrecognizable. The bus sustained severe damage as well, but mostly in its front-bumper area.  The SUV bore an imprint on one of its rear windows of a DeLand company called On Wax Branding, registered to Kimberly Pritchett and Trevor Pinnock.

The crash took place at about 6:40 a.m. (Sunrise was at 6:48 a.m.) School Superintendent Jacob Oliva was at the scene just after 7 a.m., as were, earlier, other school transportation officials.

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the crash.  The Palm Coast Fire Department and Flagler County Fire Rescue responded, as did the Palm Coast Fiure Police, which closed Rymfire Drive northbound at Rymfire Elementary, closed access to Royal Palms from U.S. 1, and closed access to Royal Palms westbound at Rickenbacker Drive.

Saxon’s Towing of Bunnell towed the SUV by 7:17 a.m. But roads remained closed at close to 8 a.m. as Roger’s Towing, in charge of removing the school bus, was having more difficulties towing the vehicle because the school bus’ steering was stuck (and steering was necessary to assist as the tow truck was to tow the bus through city streets.)

The Bluebird seats 84 passengers and costs $144,000 new. It’s been in service since 2005, making it barely middle-aged. “We were hoping to get a few more years out of it,” Mike Judd, the district’s fleet manager, said as he observed workers trying to resolve the steering issue. Whether the bus is repairable, however, is an open question: the cab, Judd said, had shifted from the force of the crash. Judd pointed to the alignment of the cab with the rest of the bus: it was no longer straight, which could mean that structurally, the bus may not be functional to transport students even after it’s repaired. “They’re going to have to bring out the tape measure and see if it’s going to be repairable or not,” Judd said.

At 8:01, the steering problem was resolved, the bus was towed away, and the roads reopened.

The school district’s Accident Review Committee will review the incident.

The crash viewed from a different angle. Click on the image for larger view. (c FlaglerLive)

The crash viewed from a different angle. Click on the image for larger view. (c FlaglerLive)

Looking west on Royal Palms Parkway. (c FlaglerLive)

Looking west on Royal Palms Parkway. (c FlaglerLive)

The school bus was making a left from Royal Palms onto Rymfire. (c FlaglerLive)

The school bus was making a left from Royal Palms onto Rymfire. (c FlaglerLive)

The Durango. Fire Police Captain Steve Garnes is to the right. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The Durango. Fire Police Captain Steve Garnes is to the right. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The school bus after the SUV was removed. Superintendent Jacob Oliva is to the left. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The school bus after the SUV was removed. Superintendent Jacob Oliva is to the left. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

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

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

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24 Responses for “4 Hurt in Head-On Crash Between SUV and School, Bus at Royal Palms and Rymfire”

  1. George says:

    I drove by on my way to work, emergency vehicles got there very fast.

  2. The Geode says:

    OK. I’ll be the first to say it – WE NEED A TRAFFIC SIGNAL ON THAT INTERSECTION! (while we’re at it, put an additional 3 lights there too…) (not really)

  3. The Truth says:

    Thankfully no severe injuries as this could have been much worse.

    Based on that picture, it sure looks as though the bus turned right in front of the SUV as it was crossing the intersection. Yet another reminder to all of us to pay attention to your surroundings at all times.

  4. Veteran says:

    Seems like no matter how fast I’m going school busses always pass me. Just sayin’.

  5. Anthony Barbato says:

    I am very glad i walked away with no injuries.
    God Bless

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hey Veteran, ever think to call your concerns into the Bus Transportation office? Sort of like the “How’s my Driving?” campaign. According to their website their number is (386) 586-2145. Pretty sure they would address the concerns if brought to their attention. Just saying……

  7. palmcoaster says:

    Violating the right of way of a vehicle, just because one thinks that can get away with it is criminal!! Most the time generates death. Lucky and hope they recover well this time for injuries only.

  8. Andrew Wheeler says:

    My bus speeds all the time and she (she=my bus driver) almost took a light out by the newer CVS.

  9. john dolan says:

    Many drivers do not understand the boulevard rule. People on the main artery(the boulevard) have the RIGHT OF WAY! You must wait until the coast is clear before you pull out into traffic. If you are in a hurry, you will always lose, as this school bus driver,and I use that term loosly, found out.

  10. Sara Crewe says:

    We do not need a light. What every time there is an accident we are going to put up a light. People need to pay attention, I have seen how some of these school bus drivers drive their bus. And I am thankful that I do not have kids that need to ride on a school bus. If you review the pictures you can see the bus is at fault.

  11. Terminus says:

    School buses always pull out in front of me, some nearly taking me out, or completely ignore the traffic laws.

  12. Tired of it says:

    Not surprised this happened. I walk every morning and see two school buses each day picking up students. The way the school bus drivers speed is amazing to me. They need to have tracking devices.

  13. Veteran says:

    Anonymous, read Andrew Wheeler and Terminus comments.

  14. Concerned Citizen says:

    I see buses driving recklessly on a regular basis. Not all but quite a few. They seem impervious to traffic laws and there is no enforcement when they violate them.

    I watched a bus violate a right away not long ago and continued to travel thru a residential neighborhood at a high rate of speed. Much to fast for children being in the area.

    When I called transportation the dispatcher could not have cared less and was quite rude. Next time I’ll step it up and call the SO as well as FHP and file a complaint with Department Of Transportation,

    I realize they are on a schedule and want to go home. We all do. But accidents like this can be avoided and these people are responsible for our children’s safety!!

  15. disappointed says:

    the buses are equipped with GPS and video that is automatically sent to a server. I’m sure the information is public record. I would like to know the speed of the SUV, whether its headlights were activated and whether the bus driver was distracted.
    the crash investigator should be able to figure these points out if they are trained.

  16. Just My 2¢ says:

    School bus speeds down my little street off Pine Grove.
    Wonder if anyone was on their phone.

  17. uanamous says:

    I’m at student tat fpc and and i feel like the buses are too wreckless my bus driver is awlays passing people.

  18. anon says:

    I have posted before that I have twice almost driven into a bus on Belle Terre by Indian Trails due to a bus making a left-hand turn because the driver wasn’t paying attention to oncoming traffic.

  19. Ken Dodge says:

    The one word that should be eliminated from the School Bus Driver’s dictionary is the word ‘late’. You never arrive ‘late’. You are either on-time, or behind schedule. Bottom line is that you get there when you get there. School bus drivers who try to ‘make up for lost time’ almost always have to speed or break the law. And yes, they are GPS equipped with video for the benefit of the Student Transportation Department, but the video is not available to the public because confidentiality rules.

  20. Mr Schmitt says:

    Nothing kind to say about the people who transport up to 60 kids at a time.these drivers are given time limits to get these kids to school.trust me they all want more hours . Transportation gives them only so much time for each route.Because the school board doesn’t want to pay for the proper amount of time to pick the kids up.So please cut the drivers , who’s troubles are all behind them , some slack !!😢🙏

  21. TR says:

    The Geode says:
    April 24, 2017 at 7:52 am

    OK. I’ll be the first to say it – WE NEED A TRAFFIC SIGNAL ON THAT INTERSECTION! (while we’re at it, put an additional 3 lights there too…) (not really)

    Why not put a traffic light on EVERY corner in PC? Just being sarcastic.
    How about everyone paying attention while driving and there won’t be as many accidents.

    I agree with the others that the school bus driver break the rules of the road while driving the buses. For whatever reason they don’t think the rules of speed applies to them. Maybe because they are trying to get the kids to school in a short period of time. Maybe it’s because we don’t have enough drivers to handle the large number of kids that have to be picked up. I do know that I have reported this one bus driver (that goes to Rymfire to drop off kids in the morning) a few times in the past few months to the bus supervisor and apparently she didn’t get any punishment or fired, because she’s still driving the bus. She speeds through the school zone at about 30 to 35 miles an house.

    Keep in mind people our kids are on these buses racing around town.
    Traffic lights are not the answer to all accidents at intersections, paying attention while driving is.

  22. Lazaruis says:

    Didn’t they just get a raise ?
    I guess it was not based on merit !
    Don’t you know – busses own the road ??

  23. Charles F. Ericksen, Jr says:

    With Royal Palms an East/West street, perhaps the sun was in the face of the bus driver? But this in inexcusable ,,,Can you imagine, the fact that the SUV was traveling 45MPH, and it stopped dead.. . all together

    The driver is lucky she survived,,

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