Shirley Nethery, a 77-year-old resident and president of Surfside Estates in Beverley Beach, died Tuesday evening after driving her car down a boat ramp and into the the Intracoastal Waterway.
The Florida Highway Patrol was dispatched to Pamela Parkway, off of A1A just north of Jungle Hut Road in the Hammock, at 8 p.m. “There s some witnesses to the crash so it was reported almost immediately,” an FHP spokesman said.
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched top the scene at 7:48 p.m. FHP was dispatched at 8:02 p.m. and got there at 9 p.m. The body, the spokesman said, was found almost as soon as authorities got to the scene.
From all appearances, Nethery mistook the boat ramp for a continuation of Pamela Parkway, a narrow, unlit dirt road covered by a thick tree canopy. The road bears right into James Roy Avenue West just before a double lot, with houses on each side. But other than grass starting where the lots do, there is no delineation between the road and the grass, and in darkness it’s easy to mistake the grassy area as part of Pamela Parkway. Some 75 feet past that delineation, a concrete boat ramp descends into the Intracoastal. The boat ramp is aligned exactly with Pamela Parkway, and there are no barriers between it and the water.
Nethery, according to an FHP report, got out of her 2012 Buick Lacrosse after hitting the water, but between disorientation and darkness, she did not make it back to shore. She was found some time later in the water. The FHP report said she was found “a short distance from the vehicle.” Late into the night and early morning, authorities were still roping off nearby areas adjoining the Intracoastal Waterway, including areas adjacent to European Village.
Nethery lived in a house in Surfside Estates on Monitor Drive in Flagler Beach, just off A1A, six miles south of the crash site.
Nethery was a well-known and beloved presence around Surfside Estates, where she organized parties and participated in all sorts of activities in the 55-and-over community. At one point she’d been president of Surfside Estates, organizing ribbon-cuttings and giving Beverly Beach a bit more visibility whenever she could.
Aside from a punctured left rear tire, the Buick appeared undamaged, other that the water it had collected. It was retrieved by John’s Towing.
Flagler County’s code is vague on boat ramps. Except for waters adjacent to Bulow Creek, it states, “no dock, boat ramp, boathouse or other water-dependent structure shall be erected, constructed or placed. This prohibition does not apply to viewing platforms that are at least twenty-five (25) feet landward of the stream bank and elevated at least five (5) feet above existing grade. Existing structures that have been duly permitted prior to the effective date of this section may be maintained and repaired but not expanded or enlarged.”