William Earl Carden, a 37-year-old resident of Palm Coast, formerly of Lake Worth, was killed early Saturday morning when his car overturned at the Palm Coast Parkway exit with I-95.
The Florida Highway Patrol reports that Carden was driving a 2002 Mitsubishi north on I-95. Minutes before 1 a.m. (the first 911 call was a minute before midnight), as he was approaching the 289 exit at the Parkway, Carden made a last-second maneuver as he “cut off another vehicle by swerving off onto the exit ramp,” the FHP report states.
Carden over-corrected to his left then began to rotate counterclockwise on the grass shoulder, then overturn several times before the car ended on its roof, facing south. The report says it is unknown if Carden was wearing a seat belt and lists as “pending” whether the crash is alcohol related.
Initially 911 dispatchers feared a child was involved: there was an empty child seat in the car. But it was quickly established that there’d been no child in the seat. Passers-by broke windows in the car to gain access to Carden, who was still breathing, but with great difficulties, in the minutes after the crash. An emergency helicopter was called in at 1:05 a.m., but Carden was pronounced dead at 1:11 a.m.
Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies reported to the scene, as did Palm Coast Fire Department and Flagler County Fire Rescue paramedics, who pronounced Carden dead at the scene. The Palm Coast Fire Police regulated traffic. The northbound exit ramp was closed. The scene did not clear until 5:30 this morning.
Carden’s death is the second road fatality in 12 days in the county, and the ninth this year. Two of the fatalities were related to medical episodes rather than traffic issues. Carden’s death is the first resulting from a car crash. Six other deaths have been the result of motorcycle crashes.