2 Killed, 2 from Palm Coast and Bunnell Injured in 2-Vehicle Wreck in Flagler Estates
FlaglerLive | January 10, 2016
A t-bone collision between two vehicles that set one of the vehicles on fire resulted in the death of two young women and injuries to two young men, one of whom is a Palm Coast resident who was left in critical condition from burns. The wreck took place on the St. Johns County side of Flagler Estates at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
Katie Stecker, 19, of St. Augustine, was killed at the scene. Victoria Sutton, 20, of Mill Town, tenn., died after being transported to Putnam Community Medical Center.
Bunnell resident Dalton Edwards, 20, sustained burns and was initially taken to UF Health in Jacksonville to be stabilized. He was to be flown to UF Shands in Gainesville. Dense fog prevented the flight, so Edwards was transported to Gainesville by ground, and has been in critical condition in the hospital’s burn unit.
Alexander Koufodontis, 21, of Palm Coast, was taken to Putnam Community Medical Center with non-life-threatening, non-incapacitating injuries, the lead Florida Highway Patrol investigator of the crash said.
The investigator said the crash took place just after 8:30 p.m. at the intersection of Isaacson Avenue and Yelvington Road, which becomes Palatka Boulevard east of that intersection. Sutton was alone in her vehicle, driving a white Chevy Trailblazer. The FHP investigator said Sutton was driving west on Yelvington, which has the right of way at the intersection.
Edwards was at the wheel of a red Ford pick-up truck, driving on Isaacson, with Stecker and Koufodontis as his passengers. For reasons unknown at the moment, the investigator said, Edwards blew through the stop sign, violating Sutton’s right-of-way, and crashing into her SUV.
Edwards’s pick-up truck caught on fire. His two passengers were able to get out of the truck, the investigator said, before Stecker died at the scene.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation, the FHP trooper said, with numerous factors still to be determined–from whether headlights were operating properly to whether lines of sight had been somehow compromised at the moment of the crash, among other factors. But charges are pending, he said.
The area of the crash, the investigator said, in an isolated section of southwest St. Johns County near the county’s borders with Putnam and Flagler, is known for its attraction t off-roading. It appears from a Facebook note written by a friend of Stecker’s that Stecker, Koufodontis and Edwards had briefly absented themselves to get gas, and were due back to meet friends who were four-wheeling in the area.
“RIP to my best friend, my partner in crime, my other half. I was waiting for you to come back with gas for the fourwheeler and you never came back,” wrote Taylor Cousin, of Bunnell, referring to Stecker. “Your last text to me was that you ‘couldn’t wait to see me’ even though you only left me for 5 minutes…but I didn’t get to see you, I got to see them rolling caution tape around the truck and I lost it. You were 2 seconds from where we were riding.”
Cousin adds: “You weren’t my best friend, you were the sister I always wanted. Mom always called us double trouble. Together we were unstoppable. I didn’t just lose a friend, I lost an enormous piece of my heart. I would give anything to go back to last night and change everything…. all I can say is I’m so thankful we found our way back together and I spent my day with you and I got a big hug before you left in that truck. I love you and will always love you more than anything. Say hi to Lane up there for me and please look after me like I know you will, and I’ll be expecting some signs that you’re still with me.”
Lane Burnsed of Bunnell died in a vehicle crash on I-95 in 2012 when he was 19, along with Meredith Smith, 17, of Palm Coast.