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Fourth Car-vs-Bike Wreck in 5 Days as Motor Scooter Is Struck on U.S. 1 South

| October 24, 2012

Florida Highway Patrol investigators at the scene of a motor scooter wreck on U.S. 1, somewhat north of Old Dixie Highway. The wreck took place at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Law enforcement officers, particularly those who investigate vehicle wrecks, don’t like motor scooters. They’re slow, they mess with traffic flow on highways, and too-frequently end up as the centerpiece of wreck scenes–as one did Wednesday morning on U.S. 1, across from the Raabe Racing machine shop south of Bunnell, and just north of Old Dixie Highway. It was the fourth wreck involving a cyclist of one sort or another in the last five days on Flagler roads.

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Wednesday’s wreck took place at 8 a.m. Four vehicles were traveling north on U.S. 1 in a group. The motor scooter was first, driven by James Ternullo, 51, of Green Cove Springs. Behind the scooter was a pick-up truck. Behind the truck was a Honda driven by Kimberly Ellis, 49, of New Smyrna Beach. All three were in the slow, or right, lane of U.S. 1. Behind the Honda, in the passing lane, was a van.

At one point, the pick-up truck maneuvered to pass the motor scooter, and did so with a proper lane-change maneuver, a Florida Highway Patrol investigator at the scene said. “The lady travelling in the Honda is following the pick-up truck too closely,” the investigator said, based on his preliminary investigation and witness statements. The pick-up truck had blocked Ellis’s line of vision, so she hadn’t seen the motor scooter in front of the truck. When the truck made the lane change, she sped on ahead–and struck Ternullo’s motor scooter.

There were no brake marks from the Honda. “The driver of the motor scooter was ejected into the fast lane, where the van was approaching,” the investigator said. But the driver of the van “did a very good thing, very quick reaction,” and averted Ternullo. The van’s tire marks were visible on the highway, where he took evasive action.


“The motor scooter driver was not wearing a helmet, and I did see head injuries, but they did say no life-threatening injuries,” the investigator said. Flagler County Fire Flight was placed on stand-by, but Ternullo ended up being transported by ground to Halifax Hospital’s trauma unit, with serious injuries.

After seeing Ternullo at the hospital, the investigator said Ternullo had a two or two-and-a-half-inch laceration in the middle of his forehead, but he was “alert and conscious and in pretty good spirits.”

The motor scooter is a Chinese-made Agility 50. Motor scooters don’t have very fast cruising speeds. The Agility 50’s top speed is between 45 and 50 mph. Law enforcement officials have been noting them on roads in greater numbers in recent years, a sign of a sour economy that’s forcing some people to abandon cars for less expensive modes of transportation.

Flagler County Fire Rescue, the Palm Coast Fire Department and the Palm Coast Fire Police, along with the Florida Highway Patrol and the Flagler County Sheriff’s Department, responded to the scene. U.S. 1 north was shut down in the area for about half an hour. Roger’s Towing collected the vehicles.

The Honda. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)


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

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20 Responses for “Fourth Car-vs-Bike Wreck in 5 Days as Motor Scooter Is Struck on U.S. 1 South”

  1. Jim Neuenfeldt says:

    QUOTE:”“The lady travelling in the Honda is following the pick-up truck too closely,” the investigator said, based on his preliminary investigation and witness statements. The pick-up truck had blocked Ellis’s line of vision, so she hadn’t seen the motor scooter in front of the truck. END QUOTE”

    Really this should be more about the lady in this car driving negligently and unsafely and as a result almost killed this man. It is not about “Chinese Scooters” or the abundance of them on the roads. There are roads with limited access, and minimum Speed Limits all to assure that Traffic does what it is supposed to do. Move quickly and safely from one point to another. US1 is not that kind of a highway.

    The article reads as if everything is fine, when suddenly someone in a BIG HURRY comes up behind the truck which was behind the scooter. As the truck moves to go around, this vehicle either from speeding way to fast, or from not bothering to watch the road in front of her for a multitude of reasons failed to slow, turn away to avoid the accident, or do anything other than just knock the guy into the other lane.

    Florida does have traffic regulations regarding this type of negligent operation of a vehicle, let’s hope if the facts as portrayed here are in fact proven to be true, the lady faces the criminal justice system as the criminal her actions portray her to be.

  2. Dadgum says:

    Yep, they’re up your AXX. Always in a rush to go nowhere. Where’s the fire! Yesterday, drivers on my rear for doing the speed limit and don’t want to pass me but would rather stay on my axx. I don’t understand the mentality. Why is this happening? There is no enforcement or lack thereof. It’s election time for Sheriff and people know this. In Europe they have cameras on the highways that can clock you which they then mail to your license address. If you don’t pay – guess what – they come to your home and arrest you. They bring you before a jusge. We don’t need red light cameras, we needt them on Belle Terre w/the 60 mph dragsters. I’m always worried about the Belle Terr Elementary students walking home because there is no barriers if a driver loses control or if there is a collission??? God forbid this never happens.

    • Ray Thorne says:

      Blaming law enforcement? How many drivers make their way through our county daily without incident? Put the blame where it belongs .. on the careless driver.

  3. fred says:

    If you dont like to be tailgated, move over! Let the faster traffic pass. Your NOT the police.

    • Karen says:

      If you are already in the right lane, where do you suggest we move over to…the sidewalk?

    • Diego Miller says:

      The problem is I drive in the slow lane and they always try to endanger me to get around the car in the fast lane. I try not to drive in packs, door handle to door handle and always try to leave myself an out.

    • Clint says:

      I would suggest you learn not to tailgate. Road rage is getting VERY VIOLENT.

    • Geezer says:

      Tailgating is a stupid thing to do.

      What if the driver in front of you encounters a deer, a dog, a cinder block, a hole,
      a slow moving scooter? You plow into that vehicle, possibly kill someone,
      and are always found to be at-fault.

      If I’m doing the posted speed limit and in the right lane, I don’t care if I’m being tailgated.
      The driver behind me needs to wait for an opportunity to pass me safely, and lawfully.
      Should I exceed the speed limit for him and get a summons? I sure don’t think so.

      Stay on my tail too long, and I dial 9-1-1 and I report the tailgater as an aggressive driver.
      Same if I see a road-rager bullying another driver.
      I’ve reported aggressive auto and big-rig drivers, and have watched them being pulled over by FHP.

      SHARE THE ROAD, we all have a right to get home safely.
      I for one, don’t ever want to cause an accident. I can’t live with that on my conscience.

  4. Saki says:

    Most drivers can’t drive, but they think they can, That genius in the honda was likely on the phone. People need to start losing their licenses and then perhaps people can travel safely.
    I would not ride a scooter my self but people who hit them for any reason should not be driving.

  5. Dadgum says:

    @ Fred – Apparently you don’t interpret too well. I said that. Furthermore, Our wonderful former Gov Jeb Bush signed legislation right before he left office which says: you don’ have to move over if you are legally driving the speed limit. This does nothing but cause road rage and accidents. Jeb Bush don’t have to drive he takes the State helicopter and flys with his thumb at us.

    People do lose their licenses but still drive just like people still drink and drive. I propose a separate institution in Florida for drunk drivers that kill and drivers’ that continully rack up suspensions on their license. The system is a joke. We can call it the “License Jail” for obitual offenders and obitual drivers who drive DWI. Got to get tough, not to send a message but, to protect society.

    This woman was just downright negligent and careless. I don’t think she was on the cell phone. She was driving so fast after the truck moved over that she had no time to react.

  6. Ron says:

    Sounds like the woman driving the Honda was totally at fault here, BUT, that scooter had no business being on US-1 where the speed limit is (I believe) 65 mph. Glad the guy was not severely hurt.

  7. Diego Miller says:

    The high speeds and wreckless driving I see are scary. They drive BelleTerre like the interstate.
    How many people know the law about stopping at the white line even if it is too far back and then creeping up to see clearly. The worst is when Palm Coast is cutting the median on BelleTerre and the movers are mowing facing oncoming traffic with no men working signs or warnings no flagman. The American highway is the most dangerous place in the world.

  8. ANONYMOUSAY says:

    @ fred: kind of funny, the same speeding tailgaters are the same ones that once a person moves over they cut them off only to find another car in front of them along with a red light. If your in such a hurry shop online or travel in the wee hours of the morning. This place is too small for the aggressive push, push, go, go driving. Love your neighbor as yourself.

  9. JR says:

    According to Florida Statute, only the National Interstate and Defense Highways have minimum speeds. The normal limit is 40 mph, except when the speed limit is 70 mph (the highest), then the minimum is 50 mph.
    US-1 does not have a minimum speed. It is incumbent upon all drivers to drive at a safe speed — no matter what the speed limit is — and that includes slow enough to safely navigate around slower drivers.

    http://www.flsenate.gov/laws/statutes/2011/316.183

  10. JA says:

    Being in this industry for many years, there are many issues not mentioned in the comments and stated incorrectly by the officer. First, a Kymco Agility 50 is a 49cc displacement scooter with a top speed of 35mph, not the 45-50 the article stated. Second, this type of scooter is designed to be ridden in urban areas, on 30-45mph city streets, not a major US Highway.The rider of this particular scooter had no business riding on US-1, he should have been on Belle Terre at best. Third, a souring economy is not the reason for the increase in scooter riding in America. Fuel economy, lower emissions, total cost of ownership, and “fun” are the reasons you see so many scooters. Finally, the fact that the scooter was built in China is not representative of it construction, as Kymco is a reputable brand, not a fly-by-night operation like many Chinese scooter are.

    This accident would have never occurred if the scooter rider used common sense and stayed on roads conducive to his equipment. Plus, he should have had a helmet on!

  11. Donna Ashman-Scola says:

    Ok… I lived I PC for 3 years and thankfully I am out of FL now so I will just say that I don’t understand how these kid of things happen on us1 because I drove it almost everyday for 3 years and there is barely any cars on that road ever. I also have to say that FL drivers are the WORST drivers in the world!!!
    You slow down when you should speed up, you never look behind you or beside you and you drive 10mph on the highway in the fast lane!!! When it rains you either pull over or drive 2 mph like its a friggin blizzard. All I’m saying is that no wonder there have been soo many accidents.

  12. Donna Ashman-Scola says:

    Ok… I lived I PC for 3 years and thankfully I am out of FL now so I will just say that I don’t understand how these kid of things happen on us1 because I drove it almost everyday for 3 years and there is barely any cars on that road ever. I also have to say that FL drivers are the WORST drivers in the world!!!
    You slow down when you should speed up, you never look behind you or beside you and you drive 10mph on the highway in the fast lane!!! When it rains you either pull over or drive 2 mph like its a friggin blizzard. All I’m saying is that no wonder there have been soo many accidents.

    • Debbie says:

      My son was the one driving the van. He was in the left lane when all of a sudden he saw an “explosion” and saw Mr. Turnelullo flying through the air toward his van. He landed in the road in front of him and my son, Jordan veered left off the road into the grass to avoid hitting him. He stopped the van, got out and ran to assist Mr. Turnello. He ran back to his van, got two of his shirts to put under his head, called 911 and proceeded to calm the man and keep him awake. He said the man’s face looked like hamburger, blood everywhere! This was traumatizing for all involved and we praise the Lord that no one was seriously injured.

  13. Deep South says:

    I didn’t think a motor scooter could go the posted speed limit. I hope the gentleman is alright. But motor scooters have no business on major highways.

  14. Jack says:

    Scooters are licensed vehicles and have a right to be on the highway. Slow speed scooters (50cc) certainly would be at danger on I 95 but should be safe on Highway 1. Car drivers should wake up and drive safely. The people who might hit a scooter moving at 35 to 40 mph would also likely hit a car moving at that speed. Congratulations to Debbie’s son that was driving safely and not in too much of a hurry to stop and assist the motorscooter driver. What is the big hurry that most people seem to be in that causes them to operate a motor vehicle unsafely. I drive a 650 Burgman scooter capable of any high speed and regardless of high fast I drive somebody needs to pass whether it is safe to or not!

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