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Driver Takes Truck on Bunnell’s Dirt-Bike Course, Flips Into a Pond, Triggers Rescue

| April 12, 2011

Some 45 minutes after the truck went into the pond, it was almost entirely submerged. Members of the Bunnell Fire Department are to the left. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

A man illegally barreling around Bunnell’s Pax Trax Motocross Park in a pickup truck this afternoon drove his truck into a pond and began sinking until two dirt bikers nearby jumped in and rescued him. The man was not seriously injured–he was taken to Florida Hospital Flagler–but when his truck flipped down an embankment and landed upright in the water, he stayed in his vehicle, immobilized, even though he was awake and seemed aware of his surroundings.

Jeff Armstrong co-founder dna energy drink. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Jeff Armstrong. Click on the image for larger view.
(© FlaglerLive)

“He drove onto the motocross track and went over the side of a jump and rolled,” Jeff Armstrong, a 39-year-old former fireman for the Titusville Fire Department, and one of the man’s rescuers, said. “Everybody that was riding was like, why is this guy on the track with a truck?”

Armstrong described the driver as being in his 60s, and smelling of alcohol. “He was just sitting in his car,” Armstrong said of the driver. “The owner of the track called 911 and the truck just started sinking, and when his truck started sinking, it was filling up with water, so myself and another guy jumped in and pulled him out before it sank.” The man was wearing no seatbelt. “He probably could have got himself out. I don’t know why he didn’t, what his deal was,” Armstrong said. He barely talked, the rescuers kept telling him to help himself out, which he wouldn’t do. “It’s good for him that there’s people here because if nobody saw him he would have been dead right now.”

Jake Flumerfelt, left, and Nick Kotyk. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Armstrong, who lives in new Smyrna Beach and travels to Bunnell’s dirt track to unwind with his bike–he is the co-founder of DNA Energy Drink–pulled the man out with Jake Flumerfelt, 27, a flight instructor at Embry Riddle University, who lives in Port Orange. Dean Feagle, the Bunnell fire marshal, also jumped after the man had been pulled out but had yet been taken onto drier ground.

“We come buzzing over here, me and him were the first ones here,” Flumerfelt said, referring to a friend he’d been riding with, Nick Kotyk, 23, of Port Orange. Flumerfelt was still soaked in his motocross riding clothes from the pond’s dark, alga-covered waters (what’s more commonly referred to as pond scum). “We’re thinking he’s just messing around. He’s just sitting there in, like, waist-deep water–”

“In the truck with the windows up, all the doors shut,” Kotyk continued.

“And he’s just slowly sinking, and then it’s like, holy crap, he’s not going to get himself out of there, so a couple of us went down there to get him out,” Flumerfelt said. Flumerfelt broke the driver-side window to get the man out.

Kotyk said that the driver had shown no hesitation when he started to take laps around the track, a weave of loamy curves, rises, falls and obstacles (see the video below).

The Bunnell Police Department’s Sgt. David Barbee said the man is likely to face charges. He was operating a vehicle off a designated roadway and trespassing, for example. His toxicology report will also be relevant.

The truck went into the pond around 4:15 p.m., according to Derek Fraser, Bunnell’s fire chief. The Bunnell Fire Department, Flagler County Fire and Rescue and the Palm Coast Fire Department all responded.

Watch a video of the main track at Bunnell’s Pax Trax Motocross Park:

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