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Jaime Hutcherson, 23, of Palm Coast, Is Killed in a Motorcycle-SUV Wreck on US1

| November 4, 2012

Jaime Hutcherson’s motorcycle on U.S. 1 late Saturday night. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Jaime Hutcherson, a 23-year-old resident of Palm Coast, was killed following a wreck on U.S. 1 Saturday night after Hutcherson, riding his motorcycle, violently struck an SUV from behind, just past the Hess station and convenience store. Hutcherson, a graduate of Flagler Palm Coast High School, was evacuated by Volusia County’s Air One to Halifax hospital in very critical condition, and died overnight.

Jaime Hutcherson in a high school portrait.

Hutcherson struck a white Ford Explorer driven by Jesus Melendez-Prez, 35.

Florida Highway Patrol investigators at the scene said Melendez-Prez pulled out of the Hess station and drove north on the outside lane of the highway. The SUV had traveled some 200 feet further north when Hutcherson collided with it.

Melendez-Prez told FHP investigators that “he looked in his rear-view mirror and saw the motorcycle kind of back and forth,” that is, swerving, the investigator said, describing the movement with his hand, “and the motorcycle collided with the SUV in the outside lane of U.S. 1.”

Melendez-Prez, the investigators said, was not at fault, nor had he been trying to switch lanes. Rather, he said, the driver of the SUV had “established his lane,” meaning that he was driving legally and normally in that lane after pulling out of the station. An investigator pointed to the marks on the pavement, where there were two successive swerve marks from the motorcycle, with tire marks in those two spots that showed where Hutcherson had very likely attempted to suddenly slow or stop. A third mark in the pavement–an actual gash rather than a tire mark–indicated the point of collision.

The rear-left of the SUV was smashed, and the rear windshield shattered. The occupants of the SUV were not injured.

Hutcherson was wearing eye protection, but not a helmet, an investigator said, and alcohol, as far as Hutcherson was concerned, “is a possible factor,” the FHP investigator said. It is not a factor with Melendez-Prez.

The heavily damaged motorcycle, an HRC, was in the center of the two lanes, facing north, after the wreck. The SUV had pulled to the right shoulder.

Hutcherson had been traveling north from Daytona Beach with a second motorcyclist.

Near Destination Daytona, the rider of the other motorcycle told an investigator, Hutcherson was able to make it through a traffic light. The other rider was not. So he sped to make up the ground, according to the investigator. “He told me that he was going at least 120,” the investigator said, referring to the second rider, “and he couldn’t keep up with this motorcyclist,” that is, Hutcherson. “That’s what he told me.”

Still, the investigators have not confirmed the speeds of either the SUV or the motorcycle at the point of impact, and all of their investigation is preliminary.

The crash took place between 8 and 9 p.m., almost simultaneous with another crash, in Flagler Beach on State Road A1A, involving a vehicle and a pedestrian. The pedestrian in that crash was evacuated as well, but was expected to survive. U.S. 1 northbound was shut down for a few hundred yards. Northbound traffic was diverted onto the southbound lanes of the highway, which were split to enable the two-way traffic. All lanes reopened after 11 p.m. The Palm Coast Fire Police directed traffic.

Relatives of Hutcherson’s were at the scene, or drove to it on their way to Halifax hospital, briefly surveying the damage there and speaking with authorities. The Palm Coast Fire Department and Flagler County Fire Rescue, along with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, responded to the scene.

That stretch of U.S. 1 has been the scene of numerous wrecks this year, most of them involving motorcycles. James Ternullo, 51, was struck by a vehicle as he rode his motorscooter a little further south on Oct. 24. He suffered serious injuries. Tyler van Blavern, a 21-year-old motorcyclist, was found dead in a ditch on Sept. 25 on U.S. 1 just north of Bunnell. John Robinson, 33, was killed when he lost control of his motorcycle on Sept. 14, in the same general area of Saturday’s wreck. John Melvin, 56, was killed when he lost control of his motorcycle in early September, also in the same area of U.S. 1.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

39 Responses for “Jaime Hutcherson, 23, of Palm Coast, Is Killed in a Motorcycle-SUV Wreck on US1”

  1. Brian says:

    This is why Florida needs to mandate a helmet law for motorcycles. They are so afraid of implications on Bike Week and Biketoberfest as a result of it, but it only makes sense. They have mandated seat belt laws for passenger cars, so why not mandate a helmet law for motorcycles?

    • The Truth says:

      I do agree with wearing a helmet if you are riding a bike, but I think the thought process behind it is that someone riding a motorcycle is not putting anyone else’s life in danger by not wearing a helmet (only themselves). The idea (at least in my opinion) behind the seat belt law is that if others are in the car, that person could actually become very dangerous to others if they aren’t wearing a seat belt in the even of a crash.

      Regardless, this is a very sad situation and I pray for all of those affected.

      • Nancy N. says:

        The issue of wearing a helmet DOES affect other people. If the other driver had been at fault in the accident instead of the motorcyclist, and the motorcyclist died instead of just being injured from the accident because he wasn’t wearing a helmet, the legal consequences for the driver are very different. The driver’s actions are the same – but a quirk of fate of whether or not the motorcyclist is wearing a helmet could literally cost that driver years of their life.

    • kelly says:

      A helmet would not have saved him.

    • ronnie says:

      it wouldn’t matter if he had a helmet on at those kind of speeds a helmet is like the outer layer of on egg, it will just peel back and break apart, anything really over 50 MPH on a motorcycle chances are your not walking away and if you do, 1.) life threatening injury’s or you have some sort of major physical dysfunction

  2. Melissa says:

    This is sad. People really need to be careful with their motorcycle. My thoughts are with the family! RIP Jaime!

  3. Diane Bixler says:

    God bless all. Tragic.

  4. Christina Raley Keefer says:

    Prayers for Jaime’s family and friends…

  5. Ann O'Neill says:

    sending out prayers

  6. Whitney says:

    This is just so shocking to me right now. When I passed the scene of the accident on my way home the thought of it being a childhood friend never even crossed my mind. My prayers are with Jaimes family and friends. RIP :(

  7. Magnolia says:

    They are always somebody’s best friend, somebody’s son, somebody’s neighbor, somebody’s dad. Our hearts go out to all of you, everyone.

    Life is precious. And those who have lost someone they love are in all our hearts and prayers today.

    • PT57 says:

      Magnolia, that was so beautifully said. I have met Jaime several times and I know his family and many of his friends. Words like yours are the closest things to comfort that can be brought to those who have been shattered by this tragedy.

  8. The Truth says:

    So incredibly sad. My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this very difficult time. Way to young to die.

  9. Geezer says:

    Jaime impacted that SUV at a very high rate of speed.

    Poor kid, his life just beginning.
    I am so sorry to hear of this senseless death.
    My condolences to all who knew Jaime.

    I hate to read stories like this.

    • Kathie Hutcherson says:

      Also, I say to you, that they really did not specify how fast Jaime was going. This is what was said by someone around the scene. Noone really knows how fast he was going. And really, what matter does it make. That SUV pulled out of the Hess station in front of him.

      Ronnie, They did not really specify how fast he was going. Noone really knows at this time. It is so hurtful to read the things that are printed about something that they really know nothing about., You really do not know the whole story, only what you read in this article.

      • Steve says:

        The friend riding with him stated he was going 120 and couldn’t keep up. At that speed and with alcohol there is no chance.

        The SUV driver probably is dealing with a lot as well for fingers to be pointed.

  10. says:

    Brian they, florida will not require a helmet law, they rather have the money instead. not only is the operator ojf the motorcycle is dead but what about the operator of the vehicle who was pjulled into this tragic scene and will never forget it for the rest of his life

    • Becky Covington says:

      This is heartbreaking for all involved. On the helmet issue, I think they help decrease injuries. But in this case I don’t believe that would have helped.

    • mindy says:

      This is something my brother in-law will never forget, he is having a difficult time and we continue to prayer for the family. It is a sad time for all! Thank you The images in our minds after last night will never go away!

  11. Nichole says:

    I just talked to him a couple days ago…. :,(

  12. glide10 says:

    Helmet or not at speeds like that, no helmet will help! Come on, people need to ride responsibly and respect what they are sitting on.

    • Anonymous says:

      NO one needs to be riding that fast! If people would just learn to respect a motorcycle more things like this wouldnt happen! This isnt a helmet issue in this case. NOTHING is going to save u riding over 100mph and crashing into sumthing!

  13. Ben Dover says:

    My heart goes out to family and friends , 21 is way too young to die, and while a helmet probably would not have helped in this situation, people should wear them anyway , if not for themselves , for the family and friends that love and care about them , its selfish to not take the extra precaution, the ones they leave behind are the ones that really suffer.

  14. DWFerg says:

    Motorcycles are inherently dangerous—Driving in a big SUV is also a risk given what can happen on the roads with reckless drivers, blind spots , fog, wet pavements, and sheer stupidity. If one chooses to “roll the dice” in riding a bike w/o a helmet, I think he/she should assuma ALL responsibilty in the event of an accident/ crash—To interpret fault based on whether one wears a helmet is foolish if not criminal. Rights are Rights – Responsibilities are just that– No Helmet, then assume ALL RISKS—- If I am @ fault on the road and someone gets hurt, charge me, If his injury is caused/ compounded by his Choice(not wearing a helmet), make them Responsible—-Fair ?

    • Anonymous says:

      Once they are deceased you can’t make them responsible for what they leave behind

    • Ben Dover says:

      That`s not what the argument is about , its about them making it illegal not to wear one , we have to wear a seat belt in our cars, if we don t we are fined , the law should at least make motorcycle riders wear a helmet, they make it a law kids wear helmets riding a bicycle , just stupid to say okay your 18 , we`ve protected your head all these years , now go out and crush it. They could say you`s have to wear helmets , leathers , elbow and knee pads too , but helmet should be the law , like I said before , if you want to be stupid its one thing , but you have family and friends that have to suffer if a helmet could of saved you

  15. Reality Check says:

    Porr family, there should be a Federal helmet law, and yes I wear one even though I do not have to, we mandate safety features on cars but yet not even a helmet on a motorcycle, but you need one a bicycle

  16. Deep South says:

    Perhaps their should be a mandatory helmet law like their is for those that ride bicycles. To many young people are fearless and take risks. My thoughts and condolences to this young man’s family.

    • Deep South says:

      Bicyclist must be over 16 years to ride without a helmet. Perhaps motorcyclists must be over 30 years ride without a helmet. More of a question of responsibility and maturity.

      • Nancy N. says:

        Age does not necessarily equal maturity when riding a motorcycle. Just yesterday, I was on I-95 North in Volusia County. I got stuck behind a slow vehicle in the middle lane. I was about to pull out to pass the slower vehicle on the left when I realized a large group of motorcycles was approaching quickly in that lane. I stayed where I was to let them pass. As they approached us, half of the pack suddenly dived two lanes to the right , so that they could blast past on both sides of the slow car in the middle lane. Evidently it was their way of expressing their displeasure at this vehicle holding up traffic.

        It was immature, childish, and dangerous – and every rider in that pack was AT LEAST 50 years old.

  17. BobbyD says:

    They are building motorcycles to go faster and faster every year. Florida top speed limit is 70 mph.
    Why not limit the top speed of a motorcycle can go to 85 mph. using a computer chip or governor.?

    Will this save a lot of needless motorcycle deaths?

    • Anonymous says:

      how sad sad for that young mans family im so sorry for their loss he was such an handsome young man how tragic——god be with you

  18. Anonymous says:

    Will miss you buddy.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Such a tradegy to loose someone so young. So many lives have been affected by this loss. Jamie you were a sweet kid and will be missed by so many. God has another Angel with him. Prayers out to the family.

  20. Magnolia says:

    Poor Jaime RIP :( so sad, he was so full of spirit and life. He rode bikes ever since I knew him the sad ironic thing is he had a tattoo on his back that said crash :,( prayers to his family and friends.

  21. ronnie says:

    jaime will forever be missed. no one i know was ever more filled with life. he only went for everything he wanted in life and cherished it. love u brother

  22. Rebekah Sammons says:

    I’m not really sure how I came across this post, but my heart skipped many beats while reading. Only God knows how many days we will be permited in one’s life. It is to be cherished and lived to the fullest! For this sweet boy, only his family, friends and all persons involved know the intimate details of a heart broken in regards to Jaime. I know this happened a few years ago, but I’m quite sure it is ever present in their hearts today, so, I have prepared my own heart and prayed for you all. I say this, God’s plan is for the good, for those who seek him first! We will all meet again in a place He has made for us. I write this with my sincerest of heart. God’s speed Jaime, God’s speed.

  23. Alicia says:

    I love and miss you brother xoxo!

  24. KARMA says:

    With the utmost respect to all who have commented, voiced their opinions, and passed judgement: my step-father taught me a lot of valuable lessons, one of which was . . . opinions are like a–holes . . . everyone has one. And I am of the opinion :o) that everyone needs one. However, in this instance, it would be more appropriate to submit those beliefs in a political forum that can make those changes, not during a time of deep sadness and tragic loss. It’s obviously easier to pour out opinions and advice than to offer prayers, compassion, condolences, words of encouragement, and love. It’s the self righteous that are so self centered that they can’t even see that this time and this place is completely inappropriate. Jaime was a human life that affected thousands of people over the past 23 years. His parents are faced with burying a child, regardless of the helmet laws, regardless of the cause of death, regardless of your opinion. The driver and passenger of the Ford are faced with haunting visions that are tattooed in their minds forever. These are real people. These aren’t political opinions, laws, statistics, or subjects of debate. So please, look deep within yourself and try to “FEEL” their grief and be respectful and not treat this site like a Jerry Springer episode. Thank you. Sincerely, Karma

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