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Palm Coast’s Maria Berlatta, 17, Crashes Her Car Into a Bedroom Where a Woman Was Sleeping

| April 25, 2012

The Ford's impact from outside the house. Click on the image for larger view. (FCSO)

Cochise Court is one of those unusually twisty Palm Coast roads. It begins at the very edge of the city’s northeast frontier, weaving along the contours of canals, culs-de-sac and alcoves before dumping into more angular Cimarron Drive. Like most residential streets in Palm Coast, it’s dismally lit at night. It doesn;t help when wildlife crosses paths with cars.

Maria Anne Berlatta, 17, of Palm Coast, was driving south on Cochise Tuesday evening, around 10 p.m. She was going 30 miles per hour, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report. Berlatta told FHP that a deer ran across the road, just before one of those curves, the last one before Cimarron (where the recommended speed limit is 20), which Maria failed to negotiate.

She struck a mailbox belonging to James Hughes at 19 Cochise, then drove onto the front yard of 15 Cochise, and ended smashing into the house at 15 Cochise, and more precisely one of the bedrooms of the house, where Nancy Deane was asleep. Concrete blocks flew. The car partially penetrated through a low window, just a few feet from the bed, whose headboard was against another wall, at a 45 degree angle from the wall the car crashed into. Deane suffered minor injuries and was not taken to hospital.

Maria, too, had minor injuries, but wasn’t taken to hospital either. A Palm Coast building inspector determined the bedroom unsafe, and an electrical circuit breaker was shut off to prevent injury from exposed wiring.

Maria was driving a 2000 Ford Taurus, which sustained some $1,500 in damages. The Florida Highway Patrol is estimating damages at around $25,000.

Inside the bedroom. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

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12 Responses for “Palm Coast’s Maria Berlatta, 17, Crashes Her Car Into a Bedroom Where a Woman Was Sleeping”

  1. hahaha says:

    thankfully that building inspector was on hand to determine that bedroom unsafe!!!! way to state the obvious!!

  2. palmcoaster says:

    Maybe the elderly drivers bashing will stop, after this excellent report and photos.I am just glad that were not serious injuries. I am also very glad that I have some big trees in my front lawn. Next…

    • Nancy N. says:

      The difference between this accident and the recent ones involving elderly drivers is that at least in this one there was a discernable cause – a deer – for the wreck. That lady drove into Publix for no apparent reason, and the guy who hit the motorcyclist at Matanzas and US1 just pulled right out in front of him when the guy on the bike was right there and there’s no way he shouldn’t have been able to see him.

      Of course young people have accidents. The issue is the type and frequency of accidents (especially relative to the miles they drive) that seem to happen when drivers become older and their medical status declines.

  3. Howard Duley says:

    It appears to me that younger drivers are just as unstable as older ones.

  4. just me says:

    Well Thank You Captain Obvious (the building inspector)

  5. Billybob says:

    There’s something more to this story. The distance between the mailbox that was struck at 19 Cochise and the bedroom window on 15 Cochise is far enough to have stopped from 30mph at least twice. I guess since it wasn’t a Toyota the story had to be “the deer made me do it.”

    It seems people aren’t in control of their vehicles around here lately.

  6. Anna Banana says:

    I agree with billybob
    There is more to the story than “a deer made me do it” Was she on the phone? texting? just not paying attention?
    The police really should look into it more….maybe get her phone records to see if she was using that at the time of the accident.

  7. Ben Dover says:

    I`ll tell you exactly why she couldn t stop , its grass , if your going fast and leave the tarmac and try to stop on grass , its not happening , you might as well be on ice , especially if its wet from sprinklers , dew or rain , you can t steer either its just like ice

  8. applesandoranges says:

    i read a comment on one of the articles in regards to the publix accident about a “what if” situation of a younger driver having been the one driving instead of an elderly person and the the charge against them would have been higher/more costly/immediate… seems that “what if” may have just happened. in my opinion, the driver in this accident was charged, damages were assesed and blame placed immediately but in the case of the 80+ year old driver’s accident, there is question, doubt, and too slow action against her – that accident was much more tragic yet because she is elderly, the law is seems to be hesitant. Why? I guess if it was a 17 year old slamming into publix at 45+ mph, she would be thrown in jail without a doubt and charged up to the heavens for any/every possible thing they could get her on. i see discrimination. just my opinion.

  9. Carolyn says:


  10. Michele says:

    I agree with *applesandoranges*
    Its sad to say that if this had been an elderly they would not have nearly as much consequences…I could almost bet you if you were required to take a driving test after the age of 55 many would not pass. Ive known many elderly who’s licsences have expired and wont even go renew them and still drive thats safe right? If that was the case of a teen you would be spitting fire at them. All of you were teens at one point and im sure you werent the best driver and know that just because they have an accident assume its their fault and want to look for more reasons as to what happend. No one was hurt, the girl was charged and fines are being paid so whats with you people who are wanting to stir the pot and find out more details, it happend its over LET the girl move on im sure shes dealing with enough from her parents. I see more Moms business men, and parents with kids in the car talking on their phone on a daily basis than i see teens, who spend 7 hours of the day in school, but lets blame the kids because its easy to point a finger when its not you or your kid right?

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