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Eric Zimmerman, 42, a Veteran, Is Killed Crossing SR100 in Palm Coast Thursday Evening

| May 11, 2012

Eric Zimmerman. (Zimmerman Family/Facebook)

Last Updated: 5:52 p.m.

Julie Zimmerman Davis, Eric Zimmerman’s sister, wrote the following Friday afternoon:

My brother was a Gulf War Veteran and my hero. He served his country long and hard and fought for our freedom and that of others. He was a proud American who never hurt anybody nor said an unkind word about anyone. He leaves behind a grieving mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law, nephews, and many family and friends. Rest in peace, big brother. You finally are home. You fought the good fight. You won the race. You are whole again. “Honor, courage and commitment are the values that guide us—Semper Fidelis is the motto that bonds us. To guard our nation is to guard its principles, becoming not only an elite warrior, but also a noble one.” Semper Fi, brother.

Psalm 23:4

Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.


The FAMILY of Eric

I also just want to say my heart and prayers go out to Ms. Ricks. We are so sorry this happened. We are praying for you and wish you peace.

Eric Zimmerman, 42, was crossing State Road 100, on foot from the north shoulder going south, when he crossed into the path of a Toyota SR5 4 Runner in the outside, eastbound lane of the highway Thursday evening, at 9:36 p.m. Zimmerman, who is from Palm Coast, was killed.

The collision took place immediately in front of the BP station on the south side of the road, between the station’s two entrances.

After the medical examiner removed Zimmerman’s body from the scene at 11:02 p.m., all that remained of the victim’s possession was a small backpack, which sat next to an emergency orange cone on the outside lane as Florida Highway Patrol investigators went about their work.

Angela Ricks, 38, was at the wheel of the SUV, which sat about 50 yards further down the road, immediately before the southbound ramp for I-95, by the Palm Coast welcome sign, evidence of a violent collision denting the middle of the bumper and the hood, which buckled inward. A think, bloody sliver of hair was also visible on the rear hatch, suggesting that the victim may have been flipped above the SUV and back to the ground.

An FHP investigator at the scene said that based on preliminary findings, Ricks–who walked near a Flagler County Sheriff’s Office SUV, spoke on the phone or sat in that SUV at the scene after the accident–was not at fault or facing charges, as Zimmerman had crossed into the car’s path. There is no crossing point there. There is a turning lane from westbound traffic going to the gas station.

Zimmerman was a transient who had been in jail repeatedly since 2009, but, with rare exceptions involving other minor mischief, only on charges of trespassing–a charge frequently leveled at the homeless when residents call in police against them.

SR100 eastbound from Seminole Woods Boulevard to I-95 was closed after the wreck and remained closed until just after midnight. The Florida Highway Patrol released the identity of the victim Friday afternoon after next-of-kin was notified. Ricks did not appear physically hurt.

The fatality is the third on Flagler County roads in five days. Two women were killed in a wreck when their car collided with a truck at the entrance to Plantation Bay on U.S. 1, near Korona. That wreck took place on May 3. Harriet Look, 76, a resident of Plantation Bay, died on May 4, and Diane Teske, 68, died on May 7.

After Zimmerman’s body was loaded onto the medical examiner’s gray van, the van wouldn’t start: the battery had malfunctioned. The problem was resolved within minutes, and the van went on its way to St. Johns County.

The Toyota SUV traveled about 50 yards from the point of impact before coming to a stop, immediately before the southbound entrance of I-95. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The victim's backpack, where it fell after the collision. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

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74 Responses for “Eric Zimmerman, 42, a Veteran, Is Killed Crossing SR100 in Palm Coast Thursday Evening”

  1. Annalise Last via Facebook says:

    these are reasons my car insurance doubled when I moved here…

    • ol'sarge says:

      wow…thats only kind of insensitive

    • Bill Steele says:

      For all of you that gave Eric a good comment some day we can all meet in Heaven. For all of you that gave him rude comments I’m sure you won’t be there to attend.
      Bill Steele

  2. Eileen G. Miller via Facebook says:

    We been talking about sidewalks and lights. But no one listens

    • Mr. Smith says:

      How would a sidewalk prevent someone from walking out in front of a vehilce? I’m pretty sure someones COMMON SENSE should tell them not to walk in the middle of the street. Didn’t your parents teach you to look both ways before you cross the street?

      • stacey says:

        how about a little courtesy for the deceased and their family. i happen to be really good friends with the family of the departed. courtesy would be COMMON SENSE. just saying

        • Kareena says:

          Eric lived with my husband and I for about 10 months, in Jacksonville. He was one of the founders of our Jeep Club. He was a good man. Mr. Smith has no idea what Eric had been through since he got out of the Marine Corp. Eric was also a talented man, just needed some help and didn’t seem to know where to turn. This happens too often to our veterans. It shouldn’t ever happen. We have missed him for the past 3 years…lost contact with him. But we will see him again. Hugs and prayers go out to Eric’s family.

  3. knowsalittle says:

    Prayers for the vicitm’s family and for the woman driving the SUV.

  4. Shelly Standiford Wood via Facebook says:

    Really Annaise, someone died and we are worried about insurance rates?

  5. Annalise Last via Facebook says:

    when someone steps out in front of a fast-moving vehicle for no apparent reason, i tend to believe it was an intentional action, which solicits little to no sympathy from me for that victim. who i really feel the worst for here is the driver who has to live with the trauma of the experience.

    it is a sad situation indeed, but since i don’t personally know anyone involved, the only way it directly affects me personally is, yes, insurance rates.

    • Vickie says:

      OMG the man was a vet, he served our country and you have no sympathy? Maybe he stumbled or tripped, or was having flash backs of the war. How can you be so cold with such a tragedy the loss of a live and the devastation of the driver and survivors of the deceased? You should not be so judgmental unless you have walked in his shoes.

    • applesandoranges says:

      Annalise, you really have no idea if that was his intention. Shame on you for only worrying about your insurance rates – Your statement disgusts me.

    • janine k. says:

      so sad for you annalise. may your heart expand in compassion for those whose pain you will never understand. Be kind, for each of us is fighting a great battle. peace be with you.

    • Ray says:

      Ray Annalise, I pray for you, you need prayer more than Eric, who I knew, or Ms. Ricks

  6. Sidewalks would not have helped there is no safe place to cross right there. Its a very busy intersection with traffic going and coming from I-95.

  7. Amy Tate Weber via Facebook says:

    Annalise, I on the other hand have tremendous sympathy for the family of that man. Intentional or not, he had a mother and a father who are now without a son, however troubled he might have been. Is he a veteran? Instead of crassly dismissing the man because you don’t know him, try to empathize with the family that is left behind to deal with the fall out.

  8. Annalise Last via Facebook says:

    you are right, amy. it is sad for those left behind.

  9. Shelly Standiford Wood via Facebook says:

    Annalise, so much I can say but Amy Tate Weber said it well enough. No matter what reason behind a situation or if you knew any of the people, I don’t think that a comment about insurance should be posted!

  10. Annalise Last via Facebook says:

    Thank goodness for that First Amendment, then, right?

    The reality is that the excessive accidents, especially fatalities, DO impact everyone else by way of things like auto insurance rates. (To clarify, I wasn’t trying to minimalize anyone’s losses. It was a general statement about the unreal number of such accidents in Flagler County.) I’m sorry my viewpoint offended you; that was not my intention.

    “I don’t mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that’s how it comes out.” – Bill Hicks

    • rj says:

      well lets hope that next time its not someone in your family because car insurance would just be ridiculous

    • Matt Davis says:

      Yes, in this country we can say anything we want… thanks to Eric and all the other vets that have fought to protect our freedoms. Here’s a quote for you to learn, spoken by another who paved the way for our freedom, “It’s better to be thought a fool then to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”- Benjamin Franklin

  11. Shelly Standiford Wood via Facebook says:

    I knew that comment would come about first amendment, you are right you can say whatever you feel right with! Have a great day!

  12. Just Me says:

    I add my prayers for all involved. So sad. Is there any update?

  13. The Truth says:

    Annalise Last: it’s people like you who make me lose faith in humanity. Regardless of the circumstances leading up to this (which you DO NOT know yet), this man was someone’s son, possibly someones husband and father. He left behind a family, friends and many people who care about him. Several lives are affected by this whole situation. It’s a sad situation and my thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved.

    Show some class.

  14. dave says:

    He was a vet and he was a good friend, just found out from my brother. Living here In Dallas,TX he was originally from Mich.

  15. gatorfan1 says:

    annalise my insurance nearly double too when i moved here. with the amount of car vs. motorcycle,car vs. pedestrian,car vs. car, i can see why. interesting too for a small town. my sympathies to both families.

  16. Julie Zimmerman Davis says:

    I also just want to say my heart and prayers go out to Ms. Ricks. We are so sorry this happened. We are praying for you and wish you peace.

    • dontbesoparanoid says:

      In your own grief, you find words of comfort for the driver. I would not have expected anything less from such a great person… and that, you are.

  17. So very sad……thank you Mr Zimmerman for your dedication in our armed forces and your fight for our freedom, may you rest in peace

  18. Tammy Johnson Romero via Facebook says:

    Rest in Peace.

  19. Darcy says:

    From the sister’s response, we can clearly see that he was a Veteran. The original news item mentions his times of homelessness. Is it possible that he paid the ultimate price because of what he saw in war that resulted in homelessness? The focus here should be on the families involved. The words of our mouth should be directed to the Lord to comfort all involved. May all of them, from the driver to the loved ones be filled with peace. We should all look upon this guy, Eric, with appreciation and honor for serving our country and feel compassion for what it did to him…

  20. Maria Pugliese says:

    This is very sad. This guy used to show up at Graham Swamp with his bike where we mountain bike. What bothers me is that maybe a year ago, we were driving on 100 at night, he darted out in front and we almost struck him. Took us completely by surprise. I’m almost wondering if it was intentional. Still, very sad that this happened.

  21. Eileen G. Miller via Facebook says:

    Julie my prayers go out to you and your family. Wish they could do more for these Veterans. Very sad

  22. palmcoaster says:

    My condolences to the family of this man still young to loose his life. God may welcome him His peace.
    I am also sincerely sad reading about one of our war veterans living homeless.Tell me we need to stop helping the rest of the world and instead help our own first.

  23. ANONYMOUSAY says:

    This is sad. I would see Mr. Zimmerman walking through Leigh High Trail or in Publix getting coffee more than a few times. Never shared a word with him. I could tell he had been through rough times but something about him had Military written all over it. Not threatening or hostile but ” I’m no slouch regardless of my current situation” type of presence about him. Sad, I wished I just would have at least said hello to him.

  24. Jedadiah Casey via Facebook says:

    Excellent Bill Hicks quote :-)

  25. Dawn says:

    Thank God for the First Amendment and all of our freedoms as United States Americans. Did it ever cross your mind that the deceased went to war to fight for those freedoms? I not only pray for this family but those that do not have the sensitivity to refrain from using the First Amendment when it is not necessary. There is a family mourning a tragic loss, no matter who is at fault, have some grace & etiquette. God Bless the Zimmerman family. Rest in peace Eric.

  26. Edward M. Hammett says:

    A very sad ending for someone who put themselves in harms way to protect all of our rights, and freedom. May God be with him.

  27. Edward Michael Hammett via Facebook says:

    Unless you were born in Florida, you could be considered a transient. Mr. Zimmerman was a veteran, and I thank him for his service for our country. Prayers to him and his family.

  28. Kim Herrick says:

    Eric went to our church. He was a kind soul. It should be a comfort to his family that he knew his Lord and Savior. What a very sad situation for everyone involved. Thoughts and Prayers to the Zimmerman and Ricks families.

  29. Julie Zimmerman Davis via Facebook says:

    Here is another excellent quote: It is just as cowardly to judge an absent person as it is wicked to strike a defenseless one. Only the ignorant and narrow-minded gossip, for they speak of persons instead of things.”
    Lawrence G. Lovasik

  30. We knew him through the shop. Rest in peace… Thoughts & prayers to the family.

  31. palmcoaster says:

    Just heart breaking!! He fought for us all and maybe we let him down…somewhere along the way.

  32. Outsider says:

    My thoughts and prayers to this man’s family and to the driver.

  33. Marie says:

    I am proud to say I knew Eric as an aquaintence. As much as I tried to get to know him, he was a very private person. All he needed was someone to talk to. He had a lot of thought and after a while, wanted to share it, if only someone would listen. Befriend someome today. You dont have to know someone to simple say Hi, how are you today. Even a smile. Not just because they are in your store shopping, but even passing on the sidewalk.
    Thank You Eric, for your friendship. You will truly be missed. God lift you and grace you with PEACE, AMEN.

  34. Jack Howell says:

    I fear the real cause of this accident was Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This fellow combat Marine has seen the horror of war. From what I read regarding some of his behavioral manners it reeks of PTSD. I know the signs very well. I too suffer from PTSD. Unfortunately, the VA can’t handle all of us. The only ones that can help us is us.

    Semper Fi Marine! Your pain and suffering is now laid to rest. Now it is time to guard the gates of Heaven as only Marines do.

  35. rj says:

    to all with the rude comments. i seriously bet if this were your son, brother, father, husband… you really wouldnt be thinking about car insurance or wheter this was intentional or not. we all have problems that we deal with and you have no idea what problems he was facing or just happened to be a victim of circumstance. matt and julie…i love yall, i am so very sorry for your loss. he was a good man, and if there is anything i can do please, you guys have my number dont hesitate to call.

  36. Disjecta Membra says:

    I honestly don’t see why this guy being a veteran makes a difference one way or another. Just because he chose to serve in the military doesn’t make his death any more tragic than someone getting hit by a car that worked at Office Depot. Doesn’t matter to me. People are people regardless of their profession. I’m glad there are people out there willing to serve but I don’t idolize them or worship them for it. I don’t idolize or worship anyone.

    I think there is a level of hypocrisy here that is rather revolting, if you ask me. We’re supposed to cherish, respect and honor this man. We’re supposed to remove our caps and place our palms over our hearts. We’re supposed to care more because he was veteran.

    Well, if he’s that important and worthy of all those things…why was he a transient? Where were these kind folks who chastise others for their opinions?

    Speaking of import and worthiness. What about the person who hit him? That can’t be all that pleasant a thing to have happen to you, now can it?

    If I were to die or to kill myself, the last thing I would want is for other people to suffer emotionally and physically. I wouldn’t want anyone to suffer financially either. It does matter that people will have to pay extra. Who’s at fault? That doesn’t matter.

    I will not shed one tear for this person. Does that make me the Antichrist? Maybe. Maybe not. I simply don’t care. His life is over. Our lives continue and that’s reality.

    This isn’t about “God”. This isn’t about the war either. Stop trying to sensationalize this. This is about somebody in the middle of the road in the middle of the night being hit by a car and dying.

    End of story.

    • Jack Howell says:

      You sir, are patheic. And yet, I will defend your right to state your hateful thoughts. This is what I swore to do when I became a commissioned officer of US Marines! You sir, are dead wrong in your thinking.

    • jennifer dietrich-robinson says:

      Someday u will have to answer to the big guy above and I wish I could be there to watch!!!

    • ol'sarge says:

      Disjecta…you speak of someone who had a history, through no fault of his own, of mental illness. Maybe this is being sensationalized, maybe not…However, your lack of basic human respect, let alone respect for someone who defended your right to publicly speak your ridiculous, cold, and cruel opinions, is shocking. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised…you represent an alarming trend in people who are so “self aware” that they have stopped empathizing for their fellow man and started only looking out for “number one.” I hope you are not a parent…

  37. Heather Parkinson via Facebook says:

    So sad! R.I.P, we all knew him through Publix! My heart goes out to his family :(

  38. Mama45 says:

    Really people just because he is a vet dont mean he is any better than anyone I hate how people make a hige deal of a vet. We all work and we all should be treated the same. I feel for his family and I feel for the man driving the SUV because that will live with them forever but I dont feel bad for this VET. Sorry.

  39. Geezer says:

    This gentleman at times was homeless, according to the article.
    A U.S. Marine who served our country should never have been homeless!
    Not even for a day…

    Here’s a fellow that was in harm’s way during the gulf war, only to be killed by
    an SUV at home. Imagine, a Marine who fought for America, is labeled a trespasser
    and is deemed a transient. This makes me sick…..

    We as a country and community failed miserably to care for our wounded warrior.

    Eric Zimmerman will be in my thoughts and prayers for a long time.

  40. Initialjoe says:

    I knew him, he used to come into my workplace a lot and would “hang out” here and listen to music or raad. We would have short conversations on different topics…It is sad to know that he will never be coming in again. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and the driver.

  41. Matt Davis says:

    For those of you who just don’t care, it would be nice if you would keep your thoughts to yourself. For those with kind words for both Eric and Ms. Ricks, thank you so much! Eric is missed greatly!

  42. palmcoaster says:

    Volunteering to put yourself on the line of fire in faraway lands, to preserve our freedoms while risking ones life, limbs or well being and paying even the ultimate price, while serving in our armed forces, is not the same as working safe at home in Office Depot.
    Sorry but I disagree with some here. And yes we are more heart broken because Mr. Eric Zimmerman was a “Veteran Marine” to come home to loose his life still a young man and in this sad way. All my respect and honor to our Veteran Marine Mr. Eric Zimmerman.

  43. Joanne says:

    Eric was a member of our church. He was a hard worker and was always willing to do anything to help out around the church. He loved to talk and always had ideas about a new project he wanted to do. It will be very strange to not see him there any more. He will be missed. Thankfully, he knew the Lord, so we’ll see him again. We’ll miss you, Eric. Our prayers go out to the Zimmerman family

  44. Jay says:

    Eric was a very mild person. He would come to my work place in the evening usually twice a week sometimes more. I would give him my cell phone so he could call back to Michigan sometimes I would let him use the business phone. We were both from the same area. I was actually going home and had to take alternate route do to an accadent. later found out what happend and saw the photo of the backpack and instantly knew Who. Rest in peace Eric. Coffee is on.

  45. God Bless America says:

    Like a few others who have posted here, we knew Eric from church. In Eric’s case, his time serving his country did indeed seem to have an effect on how the rest of his physical life played out once he attempted to return to civilian life. By physical, I mean that he seemed more comfortable maintaining what we would call a transient lifestyle than assimilating back into a routine that we who have not served take for granted. For those of you speaking in the negative, I would say yes, Eric being a veteran does make his tragic ending have a certain poignancy that saddens those who knew him.

    That being said, Eric’s spiritual life was of a magnitude that we should all hope to aspire to. He never once, to my knowledge, spoke ill of his country or complained or blamed his circumstances on the service or on anyone. Quite the contrary, he devoted every possible minute that he could toward service in our church, even though he had to travel almost 10 miles by foot in each direction to get there. As his sister said, he NEVER had an unkind word to say about anyone. Spiritually, he was right with the Lord & I am confident he is in paradise today. RIP in Eric. You were a true servant in so many ways and we look forward to reuniting with you one glorious day.

  46. Michelle says:

    Semper Fi, Marine….Semper Fi

  47. FlaglerLive says:

    Commenters, Disjecta Membra made points he has every right to make (if in a somewhat inelegant choice of context), and did so without calling any of you names. You’re welcome to address his points. You’re not welcome to insult him, or make assumptions about his belief system, or demean him personally–all of which shames you, not him. Those comments will not be approved.

  48. ellen says:

    This former marine served our country for 12 years by my count. That is worthy of our respect and gratitude. Ás the mother of a marine I understand the great sacrifice this hero made for us. Low pay. Long hours. Hard traiining and often disdain by an ungrateful national. Only 1% of our nation serves in the military and every one is a patriotic volunteer who sacrifices for the rest of us. I shed tears for this hero and I pray for all involved. Semper fi and God speed to paradise.

  49. Julie Zimmerman Davis says:

    “Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”

    • Jana DiNatale says:

      You are correct Julie. Let me just say this is a harsh world we are all dealing with and I am soo sorry for the loss of your Brother, Eric. What you stated above was beautiful regarding Eric. I send you and your family many blessings. Angela is a new friend of mine. I met her through school. She has been through a lot in the past few months…just moving to Palm Coast from Jacksonville, and going through a divorce with a cheating husband, two kids, was a stay at home Mom, used to be a Kindergarten teacher before she had her two wonderful kids. Today was the first I’ve seen her since this unfortunate situation happened, and let me tell you, she just feels terrible. We hugged and cried not only for her, but for Eric.

      If there is anything we can do to make this situation not soo terrible, or celebrate Eric’s life, please let us know.

      Cordially with a heavy heart,


      • Julie Zimmerman Davis says:

        Please, please tell Angela my parents and I are praying for her and for sorrow. We have thought and prayed for her so much these last days and wish her nothing but peace. If she needs anything, please let us know.

        Psalm 34:18
        The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
        he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

  50. Jana DiNatale says:

    I am very shocked with all the crude comments left by one person specifically here. I happen to know Angela Ricks. She is one heck of a wonderful person. She has been through a lot to recent date and I HOPE people on this forum have the decency to convey positive thoughts for all those who are dealing with this terrible situation.

    I had friends who were in the Gulf War, and albeit came back physically unscathed…something about the experience changes a person. I wish that Eric would have sought help to fight his demons and he would have been able to get his life back on track. To Eric’s family….I Thank You very much to have a courageous Son to fight for our freedom and may you heal.

    To Angela…just know I Love You Girl and what a terrible, terrible situation for you to have to endure on top of all the other issues you are dealing with. You will make it with all the people who support you.

    In closing, please no more negative posts on a terrible situation. Just give blessings to the families involved and Thank God…it was not you!

    Thank you Eric Zimmerman for your hard work and dedication, and my you be in peace.

  51. hoohumm says:

    Oh my goodness….I believe this is the man I saw earlier in the day (around 5pm). My daughter drew my attention to him, saying that he was waving his arms around and talking. I thought he must be mentally ill. He was so close to the road and looking at the cars that I actually thought for a second that he was going to step out in front of someone. I’m not positive that this is the same man but it makes me sick to think that it could have possibly been him. There had to be a lot of people that passed him that day and witnessed his behavior. My prayers are with his family.

  52. Julie Zimmerman Davis says:

    From Eric’s Memorial

  53. N says:

    Rest In Peace Eric. I wish I would have spoken to you more..
    My thoughts and prayers are with Eric’s family… may God comfort you all… I’m sorry for your loss

  54. palmcoaster says:

    @ Julie Zimmerman Davis. Thank you for sharing your sweet memories of Eric.

  55. Dee says:

    Okay no one said anything about the dent in the SUV…… its in the middle of the truck you mean to tell me no one seen Eric walking ??? If that was the case the driver would have him him on the side not in the middle, I am just saying this should be looked into a little bit more . And how fast was the woman going ? Thats a big dent , the speed limit on 100 is not that fast. did the cops give her a breath test so see if she was under the influence?? Just saying the driver should have seen him …. I am sorry to his family :( prayers to all of you

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