Donald Steimle of San Marco Court in Palm Coast lives in a house he bought for nearly $700,000. He and his wife also own a house in Ocala they bought for nearly $400,000 since. He drives a 2021 Porsche Cayenne, the kind of car that can cost from $67,000 to well over $100,000.
The average flagman makes about $13.34 an hour in Florida, or just under $28,000 a year, according to ZipRecruiter.
Thursday Steimle, 76, had an encounter with a flagman called Isaiah as Steimle sat in traffic in the area of Camino del Mar Parkway and Grenada Drive in Palm Coast. A road crew has been repaving the road there. The encounter did not go well for the flagman. Steimle ignored the flagman’s instructions, drove into oncoming traffic, then, after stopping, exchanging words with Isaiah, and revving his engine, drove into Isaiah.
It did not go well for Steimle, either. He was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second degree felony that carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. Steimle was booked at the Flagler County jail, where he spent the night, posted $250 bail on $2,500 bond and was released this morning. He has been ordered to have no contact with Isaiah.
The encounter took place near lunchtime. Traffic had been reduced to one lane, with traffic from each way allowed to go through in turn. The flagman noticed Steimle, who was going south, become impatient at the wheel of his Porsche, the enter the only lane of traffic even though he’d not been waved through. It was northbound traffic’s turn. Isaiah got Steimle to stop “so he did not cause a head on collision,” Steimle’s arrest report states, as he stood in front of the car. Steimle “began to yell that he needed to turn left.” He then “revved his engine and proceeded to lunge forward into Isaiah striking his legs and pushing him back against his will.”
The flagman told Steimle he’d struck him, and Steimle acknowledged he’d done so, but hadn’t meant to. Isaiah didn’t buy it. As Steimle drove on, the flagman took a picture of the Porsche’s license plate and reported the alleged crime to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.
Two co-workers who observed the interaction corroborated Isaiah’s account: they’d seen Steimle run into the flagman.
Deputies found the Porsche in Steimle’s driveway, and Steimle at home, not far from the site of the incident. The way he described it to the deputy, he was following other cars that had gotten out of line, and was trying to make a left into his subdivision. He said Isaiah “ran up in front of his vehicle and got in front of him,” according to his arrest report. “This is when [Steimle’s] narrative changed about what happened but advised he believed the vehicle ‘lunged forward’ during their conversation, striking [Isaiah].” He said he did not do so intentionally.
He was arrested. Isaiah’s condition is not known.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that between 2011 and 2015, 609 workers were killed from injuries at road work zones in the United States, 38 in Florida. The death rate for highway maintenance workers ranks 18th among the most dangerous jobs in the country, according to BLS (the rate ranks 22nd for police officers). A flagman working for a paving company at a Palm Coast project on Colbert Lane was killed there, on the job, in 2018, when he was struck by a van.