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Michael Halford, 61, Is Killed After His Truck Plunges in Canal at Belle Terre and Royal Palms

| February 12, 2014

It's not clear why the victim's pick-up truck began swerving into the canal. Its trailer was carrying an ATV. (c FlaglerLive)

It’s not clear why the victim’s pick-up truck began swerving into the canal. Its trailer was carrying an ATV. (c FlaglerLive)

Authorities don’t know why Michael Halford drifted off of Belle Terre Parkway as he was driving north at mid-morning today. But by 11 a.m., Halford, 61, of Palatka, was dead after being transported to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach, the second road fatality in Palm Coast in less than a week.

There was no indication of speed, no indication of Halford was trying to avoid an animal. But somehow the pick-up truck and trailer he was pulling ended up in the canal almost beneath the pedestrian bridge to the walking trail there. The truck went into the ditch by missing the guardrail and traveling between the guard rail and the red pedestrian bridge.

Halford was waterlogged and entrapped  in the vehicle until he was pulled out by Flagler County Sheriff’s Deputy Harold “Nate” Smith, who was off-duty and on the walking path for a morning run, according to Sheriff’s Spokesman Bob Weber.

“Deputy saw vehicle go into the water and enter canal,” Weber wrote in a summary of the incident. “Found subject inside vehicle with legs trapped and water up to drivers chin. Deputy was able to free driver’s legs and with assistance from others on-scene was able to pull driver out of the water.”

The incident took place around 9:45 a.m. Halford was traveling north in his Ford F-150 on Belle Terre on the outside lane, approaching Royal Palms, according to the Florida Highway Patrol’s Cpl. Steve Howard, the homicide investigator working the case, when, for an unknown reason, the vehicle drifted.

Halford was pulling a trailer that was itself carrying an all-terrain vehicle cart. The pick-up truck served and traveled about 300 feet down the embankment. “Because of the force of the impact of the truck into the water, the gator–the four-wheeler–was thrown forward into the bed of the truck and hit the back the cab,” Howard said. But the investigator is not concluding at this time that the impact of the ATV on the cap was the source of the man’s injuries.

“I was told that he was unconscious when fire rescue or the deputy first showed up, but at some point he was talking,” Howard said.

“I don’t see an indication of speed,” Howard said. “There’s no acceleration, there’s no breaking, it’s a constant speed, and I don’t see any evasive action taken by the driver.” The investigation is ongoing.

“While alcohol does not appear to be an immediate factor,” an FHP spokesman said later, “we are looking at all possibilities. This would include whether or not it was a medical related issue.”

Because of bad weather, the emergency helicopter could not be called in. The man was taken to Halifax by ground.

One lane of Belle Terre Parkway was closed to traffic as investigators and rescuers worked the scene. The Palm Coast Fire Department, Flagler County Fire Rescue and the Palm Coast Fire Police were at the scene, in addition to the Sheriff’s Office and FHP. John’s Towing removed the vehicles.

On Feb. 8, Robert Cronin, a 62-year-old Palm Coast resident, was killed when he struck his vehicle against a tree on a Whiteview Parkway median.

The pick-up truck. (c FlaglerLive)

The pick-up truck. (c FlaglerLive)

The trailer the truck had been pulling. (c FlaglerLive)

The trailer the truck had been pulling. (c FlaglerLive)

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15 Responses for “Michael Halford, 61, Is Killed After His Truck Plunges in Canal at Belle Terre and Royal Palms”

  1. Florida Native. says:

    What’s going on in this town? My best to his family. Be careful folks.

    • Facts says:

      Accidents happen in every town I believe? He may have had heart attack or passed out, which again happen in every town…I believe.

  2. Florida Native. says:

    Thank you Deputy Smith for your heroism. God bless you sir.

    • Dyonne Mansur says:

      We need to thank the others as well. I was wondering why we are only giving the credit to one person. They are all heroes

      Thank you!

  3. Geezer says:

    It appears that the gentleman may have suffered from a syncope spell. (passed out)
    It’s a shame what happened to this man – see how fragile we are?

    Poor guy…. I feel awful for him and those he leaves behind.

    It really has been a depressing couple of weeks.
    Man, I hope that all these sad events cease and give us time to breathe easier,
    if only at least for a while. Folks, you have to appreciate life.
    Do you know why “today” is referred to as “present day”?
    Because every day of life is a gift….

  4. Angela Kuhl says:

    Correction… On the incident of 2/12/2014 on Belle Terre and royal Palms, the two by
    standards were the real heroes. they were the one who actually saved the men’s life. I was a witness to the accident and I did not see their names on the paper. I see that the off duty officer was the only hero, but the credit should be given to others. They risk their lives to save someone. Our community needs to hear that we have people in the community that are willing to help others. The name of one of the by standard is Leo Gocking, he is a Registered Nurse and he works at Flagler Hospital. I would like to see the name of the other by standard in the paper. He is a hero.
    thank you for your attention

    • Cynthia says:

      We were there as well. And this is true, it was a great effort by all of those who were involved. There were 3-4 in the water. One telling those in the water what could be seen from the bridge and where the man was located and his condition. It was a collective effort. It was nice to see everyone come to his aid… May he rest in peace.

      • dana crews says:

        Cynthia says: please contact me would love to know what the witnesses seen so many stories can`t get a straight answer,Thank you Dana Crews Michael Halfords sister-inlaw

    • dana crews says:

      Angela kuhl
      I am this mans sister in law we would love to speak to you and find the other gentleman, you can contact me by email at thanks dana

    • Michele Halford says:

      I am the wife of Michael Halford,and I would greatly appreciate any information I could get on contacting
      the men who helped with his rescue. I want to thank them, and know anything I can about his last few

  5. Dyonne Mansur says:

    Could you make a correction on the names? the deputy did a great job saving his life, but we need to know the name of the other ones. Our community needs to know who they are and we need to thank them for their job. I know one is a nurse like me, his name is LEO GOCKING…. Great job!!

  6. Salliann says:

    I don’t understand why this man would be transported all the way to Halifax when Flagler Hospital is a few minutes away.

  7. confidential says:

    Sometimes people want to remain anonymous and the reporter may need permission to publish their names.

  8. Info says:

    He was taken to Halifax due to criteria he met w/ his condition. Halifax is a Trauma center and any people meeting certain criteria have to go there and its the closest one to us. Most of the time thats when youll see the helicopters involved how ever weather plays a role in them being able to fly. If it takes more than a bandaid to fix dont bother stopping at this ER!

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