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Camper-Hauling SUV Flips on I-95 in Palm Coast, Hurting Two; 5 Dogs Also Rescued

| May 5, 2012

The camper started to wobble, dragging the SUV into a spin. Click on the image for larger view. (FlaglerLive)

Just after 11 this morning a black Ford Lincoln Navigator SUV hauling a 35-foot camper lost control about a mile past the intersection with Palm Coast Parkway and flipped both SUV and the camper into a ditch to the east of the northbound lane of the Interstate.

A man and a woman were in the SUV. Both were taken to Florida Hospital Flagler with undetermined, but not life-threatening, injuries, according to a Florida Highway Patrol investigator at the scene.

The right-most lane of I-95 was closed, slowing traffic and backing it up a considerable distance. The wreck has not been cleared as of this writing, and the right lane remains closed.

There were five dogs along with the two people involved in the wreck. The dogs were taken to the Humane Society.

Based on preliminary findings, the FHP investigator said the SUV had been traveling in the center lane, going north, when the camper began to wobble behind it, resulting in a jack-knifing. It appeared like the SUV rolled into the ditch, ending up on its wheels against the wood-line. The camper was on its side, diagonal with the interstate, but clear of all driving lanes.

At 12:30 p.m., John’s Towing was at the scene, using a crane truck to haul off the camper, and a flat-bed to haul off the SUV. It appeared likely that the scene would be cleared by 1 p.m., when traffic would resume its normal flow.

Flagler Coun ty Fire Rescue, the Palm Coast Fire Department responded to the scene. The Palm Coast Fire Police regulated traffic.

The identities of the occupants of the SUV will be released when FHP makes them available.

The five dogs riding with the vistims were taken to the Humane Society. Click on the image for larger view. (FlaglerLive)

The SUV ended up against the woodline, down a ditch. Click on the image for larger view. (c FlaglerLive)

The Ford Navigator, from the woods. Click on the image for larger view. (c FlaglerLive)

(c FlaglerLive)

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30 Responses for “Camper-Hauling SUV Flips on I-95 in Palm Coast, Hurting Two; 5 Dogs Also Rescued”

  1. B. Claire says:

    How awful. :(

    Hoping the best for the couple and their 5, what I’m pretty sure must be their canine ‘babies’.

    Thanks FL…again…for the great reporting/photos. …& Flagler County Humane Society!

    • Anonymous says:


      • pamela carr says:

        God be with you too.

      • sheree says:

        Thank you. My brother and sister inlaw are doing ok and so are 4 of the 5 dogs. Unfortunately, Frostie, their beloved maltese was not so fortunate. They are grieving as is the rest of the family for Frosties, a beautiful little maltese that we all loved. she was raised from a baby and is missed terribly. Please pray for them all. Thank you to the humane society for all of their help.

        • Diane Voigt says:

          We at the Humane Society were happy to help as much as we could. The four surviving dogs were obviously well-loved and well-cared for and we all fell in love with them immediately. We are so sorry that Frostie didn’t make it but hope that the family takes some comfort in the fact that the other four dogs were uninjured and so happy to be reunited with their family. Our best wishes to all.

      • donna says:

        We saw this and am so happy that they are doing ok!!!

      • Krystal says:

        Good to here the family is doing fine. How are the fur babies? Are they doing ok too?

    • pamela carr says:

      This is my brother and his wife- I can not believe that this happened. God was with them today. ONe of their little dogs,Frosty, was killed in the accident. Today God was surely on I95. A big Thank you to the troopers , hospital, and the humane society for taking care of the dogs. The hand of God surely protected them from harm. I am shocked by these pictures and so very thankful.

    • Joann Mussman says:

      Dear Liz & Herb,We all are sick with sorrow for you & Frostie. Frostie was a special little jewel & will be sorely missed. When Alicia told me the tragic news I thanked God that he didn’t need your help right now & pray that you will be here with us on earth for at least 30 years.I don’t know why bad things happen to good people,but I look forward to your full recovery & a long happy visit to NY.For right now take all the tlc Shane & Alicia are giving. You need their love to get better & they need you too.You are an amazing woman on the inside & outside.
      We all love you, come up here asap ,I will give you a soft hug & loads of laughs about you know who. When you come up & we’ll dance & have a blast.Our friends Jackie & Art have you in their thoughts & prayers too.
      love Jo.

  2. B. Claire says:

    Great news…thanks for the update!
    and how are the Pooches?

    [that’s going to be one cranky insurance claim dept, huh!…]

  3. palmcoaster says:

    Awsome reporting! Kudos to Flagler Live.
    @Anonymous…hope the couple keeps improving and the 5 pouches are doing fine as well.

  4. Don't forget says:

    This happens a lot Flagler Live…you forget about Flagler County Fire Rescue. Please give credit where credit is due. They respond to these emergencies and put their lives on the line to save others, just like PCFD – yet you fail to recognize them by name.

    • pamela carr says:

      From what we understand the fire dept, officers, a detective, humane society , hospital staff, Johnny Towing service etc. and good people were everywhere to help them- there is no telling who to thank for their help, but a big thank you to all who stopped and to all who prayed.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Credit for doing your job and what you signed up for? Maybe thank the wrecker company also…

    Good Job FL…

    Team work…

    Maybe they mention Palm Coast because it makes up 99% of the “County”

    • Anonymous says:

      Bunnell makes up the largest part of the county!

    • Don't forget says:

      It’s called Flagler Live, not Palm Coast Live. Yes, let’s thank the wrecker company too, Anonymous. You thank your server when you go out to a restauraunt – dont you?! Theyre just doing their job too. My point is that responsible reporting is, in part, recognizing all agencies who responded to this emergency. Why just thank PCFD and the fire police when FCFR were the ones who drove the ambulance, cared for the patients intimately, transported them to the hospital, and ultimately aided in saving their lives.

  6. Jim N says:

    I am really glad that everyone is okay. That is the main point in the article and Good Job Flagler Live.
    One thing concerns me though and I’ll throw it out here. My intention is not to place blame, but to make others aware.
    A quick check of the specifications shows this camper to be almost 11 feet tall.
    It weighs around 7,600 lbs shipping weight per the manufacturers website at
    It also has a listed carrying capacity of an additional 1200 – 1400 lbs depending on the model.
    These weights do not include whatever water, sewer, lp gas, waste water etc. around 200 gallons or an additional 1600 lbs.
    It is very easy to imagine that the rolling weight of this camper loaded is in excess of 10,600 lbs and honestly that is a conservative estimate. It could easily be much, much, more……

    The carrying Capacity of the Tow Vehicle is rated at 9,000 lbs max….. again 9,000 lbs maximum and I’ll assure you that is with some specific additions like weight distributing hitch, special trailer rated tires for the rear axle of the tow vehicle etc…. , etc.,
    As an additional factor, the Lincoln Navigator, which is the same as the Ford expedition has a horrible record for stability on it’s own, let alone when pulling a load 35′ x 11′ x 11,000 lbs……

    I’d bet the dealer told them it would handle it just fine……… yeah right.
    The tires appear intact on the trailer, and the photos do not show the tires of the Navigator but I’m betting that at least on of them on the rear is flat!

    If your going to have a camper, or a boat, make sure you really know what your getting and what you are pulling it with. As a second safety concern, weigh both of the units most truck stops have scales that are not only certified accurate but inexpensive as well…

    Make sure you know what your tongue load weight is LOADED….. that is critical for stability going down the road,, and no you can’t really use a level to see how ugh sag you get and still be safe. Make sure you know what tires you are using on both vehicles because they are just as if not more critical than the the rest of the stuff and make darn sure you check the tire pressures on all of them DAILY if your moving it.

    We’re all lucky this accident is not worse than it is……
    Camping is great and pulling a trailer is safe also…. So long as you really know what you are doing.
    In all honesty, a regular drivers license should not be enough to pull anything over about 8′ and 500 lbs..
    There should be a class and a towing endorsement, just like for riding a motorcycle!

    Best of everything to you and your families!

    • Herb says:

      Jim N.
      I am the owner of the trailer and suv and although no expert I concur with what you have said. I expressed concerns at the dealership and bought the navigator based on what they told me was needed to tow the vehicle we had selected. I did this since i had seen a travel trailer flip in tennessee right in front of me one day and was concerned about them. I was assured that all would be fine and they would not and could not by law and good faith sell an incompatible mix just as you said. We have had the rig for a little over a year and travelled the east coast on several trips to North Carolina and Long Island. We had just left from two days at beverly beach after traveling from Orlando and just entered onto the interstate when the sway began. Tire pressures had been checked prior to departure and i felt no flat tire. I have not had a chance to check the tires since the incident, but feel it was either a tire or mechanical failure. The trooper that investigated the accident told me at the hospital he felt the trailer was too big for the vehicle which concurs with your assessment. The trailer hitch is still attached to the car with the cotter pin in place on the locking mechanism. The sway bars were sheared apart at the point where the holes for the locking pins where inserted, they are still in place. The chains broke off where the attached to the trailer, and the pins holding the sway bars down on the the trailer side are still in place looking normal but the sway bars are out.we are both bruised and heartbroken as the little Maltese we lost was loved as much as any child and she brought much joy to our lives. We are also both very thankful to be alive and in good health with our other 4 dogs, and thankful the navigator cabin was built well enough to withstand the tremendous forces it was subjected to, protecting it’s passengers. I hope I can get an expert opinion to determine if there was indeed a failure of any systems.m

      • JimN says:

        I’m glad that you and your wife are okay.
        I’m a little ore comfortable also with you describing you did have a weight distributing hitch with anti sway bars also. If this was a dealer item or was installed at a 3rd party business, you should check with detailed specifications because that should not have happened. There is obviously a failure in those mechanical parts somewhere, they are either defective or were the wrong size for the load you were towing.

        I’d also recommend that rather than an Expedition Class Vehicle, you move on up to a truck. The Expedition class vehicles are the same as 1/2 ton pickups… You should consider a 3/4 or 1 ton truck to be honest. Go with the super cab, longer wheel base, they ride as well as the expedition, although not quite as “soft” a ride, good tires will make that vehicle very comfortable! Make sure the tire dealer knows your pulling a trailer and you want TRUCK tires not oversized passenger car tires.
        For a rig that size 35′ x 8′ x11′ get a dual wheeled rear axle… You’ll absolutely love the extra stability in any kind of a turn or wind situation, not to mention it increases you braking ability by having 6 contact patches on the road in lieu of just 4.
        I’m sure you enjoyed your camper, and don’t let this keep you from enjoying what you like to do. Just really make sure the people you deal with understand what you NEED, not just tell you what you want to hear to make a sale!
        Hug your wife and the 4 dogs, and be thankful because this could have been a lot worse for all concerned and there was no one else affected either.

  7. Ben Dover says:

    The axle and wheels look pretty damn flimsy and not positioned too good for a camper that size ,

  8. palmcoaster says:

    To Herb. I am sooo sorry to hear about your little Maltese…get well soon.

  9. Initialjoe says:

    I am glad that nobody was hurt!

  10. Emile says:

    As JimN says, the wheelbase of the tow vehicle makes a big difference in safety. A 3/4 ton truck such as an F-250 or 2500 has a wheelbase at least 18 inches longer than an SUV.

    Ford is now offering a Navigator L, which does have a longer wheelbase, but I would still be more comfortable with a large pickup truck. When we were towing a large camper, we had a diesel Silverado, and it had all the comforts of a luxury sedan.

    I’m glad you and your wife are O.K. Hope you will be back RVing again soon.

  11. Elizabeth Pagano says:

    My name is Elizabeth and I am the woman who was the passenger in this accident.
    I want to thank the people who pulled over to help immediately after the accident. Especially the officer who showed me his badge. He was so comforting and kind. I also want to thank PCFD, the fire police, FCFR, the towing company , the hospital nurses and the 2 doctors who examined me in the emergency room. The EMT who was with me in the ambulance.. I also want to thank the Humane society for taking care of my precious dogs. I also want to thank Flagler for publishing this story. My eight year old 9 pound Maltese Frosty died at the scene. Please if you were there I would like more information about my sweetheart little fur baby. Did she die quickly? If she was alive when found was she in bad pain? I am so devastated over her loss. She was such a precious little doll.

    • Roy says:

      I spoke with people that were on scene and they said your dog did not suffer and appeared to die in the initial impact.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Thank you so much for your reply. Are you with Flagler live?

        [Elizabeth, Roy is not with FlaglerLive; we got to the scene after the dogs had been taken away.–FL]

  12. To JIm N

    I am honestly blown away by the depth and breadth of your knowledge concerning the accident. One of the reasons I read Flagerlive is because of the insights and knowledge (who would had have known) that so many people in our little part of Florida have, and share with others. Thanks for the info!

  13. Diane - NY says:

    Was greatly concerned as my husband, myself and our chocolate lab passed the accident scene traveling back to NY. Hugs out to you, your wife and your 4 dogs for surviving such a crash and sorry for your Maltese loss. Also glad no one else was involved.

    • Colette - VA says:

      My family and I were traveling in the opposite direction and saw the accident. We were directly across the median when it happened. We pulled over but did not go to the scene as there were others running to the scene already. We had to gather ourselves before we moved on because, honestly, we did not think it possible that anyone survived. It is a miracle that you survived with amount of times your car flipped and the impact of it all. I checked the Internet the following morning for any news regarding your crash and was so relieved to hear that you escaped with minor injuries. I am so sorry about your precious dog, however, God was definitely watching over you.

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