Two eighth graders, students at Buddy Taylor Middle School, were struck by a car early Monday morning (Feb. 1) as they were walking to school, sheriff’s office and school officials say. Both students were taken to AdventHealth Palm Coast.
A sheriff’s spokesperson said the trip to the hospital was more cautionary than necessitated by injuries. “I don;t believe anyone was injured,” the spokesperson said.
The incident took place at 6:42 a.m. Initial indications to 911 were that two children had been struck, but were both sitting up–on the ground–at the time that someone called 911. The Palm Coast Fire Department was at the scene within five minutes of the collision and determined that the injuries–if any–were minor, and called off an emergency helicopter that had been placed on standby. Both students, who are eighth graders, were coherent and speaking with a sheriff’s deputy, according to 911 notes.
Both the driver of the vehicle and the two students “gave conflicting accounts of what occurred,” a sheriff’s deputy who reported from the scene stated in a report: The driver said he was going west White View, crossing Belle Terre Pkwy, and had a green light. He told deputies he did not see the pedestrians who were walking north, crossing White View on the crosswalk. Both students told deputies that the crosswalk signal had cleared them to walk.
A deputy was able to make contact by phone with a witness, however. The witness said she was on White View, going east to turn north onto Belle Terre Pkwy. She had a green light and was waiting for the car that was traveling west on White View (and became involved in the collision) to go straight through the intersection so she could make her turn onto Belle Terre Pkwy. She said she did not see the pedestrians crossing White View until they were in the headlights of the westbound car.
After a series of collisions with students on foot or on bicycles between 2015 and 2017, including three fatalities in that time span, collisions involving students have diminished considerably. The school district and Palm Coast at the tail end of the crashes established a safety committee that still meets (it is chaired by Andy Dance, who headed it when he was a school board member and continues to head it as a county commissioner). Several safety measures have been implemented, from reconfigured bus stops to education campaigns.
Whether as a result of the committee’s work or for other reasons, crashes have been few in the last three years. In April 2019 a special needs school bus carrying nine students was involved in a minor collision at Rymfire Drive and Rickenbacker Drive in Palm Coast, during the morning commute. That February a pick-up truck rear-ended a school bus with 40 students aboard on on Laguna Forest Trail. But the last time a student was struck by a vehicle goes back to November 2018, when a 15 year old riding his bicycle was injured when a pick-up truck struck him at the corner of Palm Coast Parkway and Belle Terre Parkway. That incident was not school-related: the 15 year old was riding his bike on a Saturday.
First responders had a busy morning Monday: not long after the incident on Belle Terre and White View, firefighters were called to a house fire on Poney Express Drive in Palm Coast. The fire was out within minutes.