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I-95 Crash Sends 2 to Hospitals; Witnesses Cite Cell-Phone Distraction

| February 22, 2012

The Palm Coast driver of the Nissan Altima was flown to Halifax Hospital. (FlaglerLive)

A two-vehicle crash on I-95 just north of Palm Coast Parkway this morning sent two people to hospitals, one of them with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

The crash involved a gray Nissan Altima driven by Robert Vespi, 43, of St. Augustine, and a GMC Yukon pick-up, towing a trailer stacked with cut lumber. Thomas Berry, 39, of St. Augustine, was at the wheel of the Yukon.

“Both vehicles were traveling northbound,” Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. H.L. Smith said. The crash took place about 200 yards past mile marker 294, three miles north of the Palm Coast Parkway exit. “witnesses are telling us that the driver of the Nissan that rear-ended the SUV pulling the trailer, was apparently looking at what appeared to be a cell phone, whether or not they were texting or attempting to dial, and basically just rear-ended the end of the other vehicle.”

A subsequent FHP report confirmed that Vespi was “temporarily distracted, as he was texting on his cell phone.”

Vespi was flown to Halifax Hospital. Berry Yukon was taken to Florida Hospital Flagler by ground with minor injuries. The Yukon’s rear was smashed in by the trailer, which was stacked with lumber. The Altima’s front end was unrecognizable–a mass of twisted metal fit for a scrap yard. The car was towed by Roger’s Towing at 9:30.

The crash took place before 9 a.m., in the center lane of I-95. The two right northbound lanes of the interstate were closed until 9:40. The lanes were fully re-opened then, and traffic, which had backed up a couple of miles, was flowing again.

Neither driver was under the influence of alcohol, and both drivers wore their seat belts.

The rear-ended Yukon and its payload. Click on the image for larger view.

Click on the image for larger view. (FlaglerLive)

Click on the image for larger view. (FlaglerLive)

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18 Responses for “I-95 Crash Sends 2 to Hospitals; Witnesses Cite Cell-Phone Distraction”

  1. That guy says:

    And this is why talking or texting on a cell phone while driving should be illegal. I hope all involved in this accident make a speedy and full recovery.

    • Umm really says:

      Yeah, because if it was illegal this would never happen. People never break the law to do what they want.

      How about instead we make it illegal to crash into people and cause injury / property damage…

  2. Sherry Epley says:

    To “That Guy”: I couldn’t agree more! When behind the wheel of a moving car, we take on the responsibility of not only our own safety, but the safety of anyone/anything for whom our vehicle may come in contact. The problem is very basic. . . too many people do not take those responsibilities seriously. They act in high risk ways and put others in danger. That is precisely why we need to make all of those types of behaviors illegal, and why those laws need to be strictly enforced. . . for the common safety and the common good.

  3. Yellowstone says:

    We need another law! How about a law that says, “it’s against the law to break the law.”

    Now that will eliminate all accidents and crimes – or would it?

    People you need to hang up the phone, stop doing drugs, no more funtime DUIs, no driving on the wrong side of I-95,, and no more driving over the folks walking their dogs in the C-section, and start smart, responsible drive.

  4. Makes you wonder why in the world our elected representatives will not ban texting while driving…it’s a no brainer.

  5. Gia says:

    That why our insurance coast more, because of texting. There is not enough killing on the roads, these yoyos gov. refused to see that.

    • Ben Dover says:

      Well the Government makes money off the two biggest killers in this country , cigarettes and alcohol , there is no disputing these two kill more people in this country then any other substance. But they get rich off them , have for years, even let them use candy smokes to lure the kids in. So I`m sure like the red light camera`s, if there`s a fine and money to be made , our elected officials will be all over banning cells while driving cha ching !! like a bum on a baloney sandwich

  6. Mendy says:

    FYI: He was not using his phone at all. He actually, was reaching down to pick up his coffee. He needs prayers. He has a very long recovery ahead.

  7. Little Rob says:

    This is really the latest danger in the highway safety today. But where do you draw the line to say enough. Society as a whole make laws to apply equally to us as the public for our safety. It’s unfoutunate but a true and nessaray fact of today’s world. The insurance companies reserve the right not to pay out for DWI’s lack of wearing seatbelts and having uninsured drivers behind the wheel. So be ready ladies and gentlemen the first time an insurance company goes to raise your rates for texting behind the wheel or worse. Not paying out for an accident. It is not safe but we all are guilty.
    You all have a safe evening

  8. Patricia says:

    Our thoughts, love, and prayers to you Bob. God bless you through your surgeries dear friend. Love from the Brilis’

  9. Initialjoe says:

    Texting is not the problem, it is part of the problem. There are a lot of distractions available to people while driving….I have seen people have accidents from pressing a button on the radio. It happens. I hope both drivers make a speedy recovery and I am happy to read that there were no fatalities.

    On a side note, there is new technology out there that would have helped in this case…

  10. HomeSchool4me says:

    Just today I texted while driving on US 1. Scared the pee out of me too. Thank God no one was around or else I could have hurt someone. Learned my lesson. “Lord give me the strength to not give into temptation to pick up my phone while driving”

    • Anonymous says:

      And he who rear ended the victim will have to pay a substantial car insurance premium for the next 3 to 5 years. That in itself should be a deterrent to cause an accident.

  11. TjI says:

    Anyone at fault in a car accident will have there premiums increased for 3 to 5 years. That alone, is a deterent not to cause a crash!

  12. Ace Fagundo says:

    Bob my family wishes you a fast recovery. We love you and will be there for you. See you soon,your brother from another mother.Ciao.

  13. Sissy Knotts says:

    Get Better Vespi we miss you at work, Wishing you a speedy recovery, If you need anything let us know. Love to you, Sissy and Gary

  14. agnese says:

    One would think that a man of 43 would have more sense than to call/text at that speed, do you really think another law will prevent “dumb” ??

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