Last year, Flagler County was past the half-year mark–June 15–when it recorded its fourth road fatality. On Sunday, three people were killed in two separate crashes within two miles and two hours of each other on I-95, on either side of Palm Coast Parkway. A Palm Coast teen-ager had been killed in a separate crash Thursday.
The first crash took place at 12:15 p.m. two miles north of Palm Coast Parkway. Ricardo Mosquera, 51, of Orlando, was at the wheel of a 20-year-old motor home, traveling with his wife, Yvette, 49, who was riding in the front passenger seat, and another couple related to them, John Mosquera, 55, and Beatriz Mosquera, 56. They were sitting in the back. The group had left Orlando for a campground in St. Johns County.
Around mile marker 291, the front-right tire blew as the motor home was riding in the outside lane. Ricardo Mosquera lost control, and the vehicle first swerved toward the east shoulder of the highway, struck a road sign, then struck two trees in succession, the second impact causing the motor home to break apart, a Florida Highway Patrol investigator said.
Yvette Mosquera and John Mosquera were pronounced dead at the scene. Ricardo Mosquera had serious injuries and was transported to Halifax Hospital in Daytona Beach. Beatriz Mosquera was taken to AdventHealth Palm Coast with minor injuries, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report.
The Palm Coast Fire Department, Flagler County Fire Rescue and the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office had all reported to the scene, as had the Palm Coast Fire Police, which had reduced northbound traffic to two lanes.
The slower traffic caused a back-up.
At 2:36 p.m., just south of Palm Coast Parkway, Charles Stewart was at the wheel of a 2017 Dodge Ram. he would later tell Florida Highway Patrol troopers that he was going 75, on cruise control, and had not been paying attention to the stopped traffic in front of him. He crashed into a 2014 Chevy Malibu, killing Melody Roberts, 42, of Fernandina Beach. She had been a passenger, with a 44-year-old man at the wheel, who was in critical condition and whose name has not yet been released. He was taken to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach.
The Malibu was “completely destroyed,” in descriptions given to 911 dispatchers.
The crash caused a chain reaction, involving a Ford Fusion, with David Grey, 40, of Avon, N.C. , at the wheel–he had minor injuries–and a 2018 Nissan driven by Luis Andres Sanchez Saez, 45, of Winter Garden, with Xavier Rosado, 36, of Orlando, as a passenger. Neither was hurt.
Stewart voluntarily provided authorities with a sample of his blood at the scene. He had not been drinking, an investigator said, but more toxicology is pending, as are charges against him.
That crash caused renewed and more severe back-ups on the highway, with some drivers at one point driving the wrong way on the on-ramp at State Road 100, to get out of the jam. It was past 6 p.m. when all lanes were reopened on I-95.
On Thursday evening, Logan Goodman, 14, a student at Indian Trails Middle School, was killed in a motorcycle crash in Palm Coast’s Woodlands. He had been a passenger. And though FHP will not tally this crash among Flagler’s road fatalities, since it took place in Volusia, Bunnell’s Carl Gandy, 56, was killed on Saturday in a head-on crash on State Road 40.
None of the victims who died in any of the crashes in that four-day stretch were at fault. All had been passengers, and essentially helpless.