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3 Hurt, 2 Critical: Van Dives Into Pond After Striking Matanzas Woods Exit Sign and Tree

| June 19, 2016

matanzas woods wreck crash nissan rogue

The Nissan Rogue ended up facing the opposite direction from which it had been traveling as it came to a final rest only partly submerged in the retention pond at the southbound exit from I-95 to Matanzas Woods Parkway. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Eleven weeks after it opened, the Matanzas Woods Parkway interchange claimed its first serious traffic victims Sunday morning.


Two people were critically injured and a third had minor injuries after the van they had been traveling in all night on I-95 south struck the Matanzas Woods Parkway exit sign, kept going in a straight line, traced in the soggy grass, struck and uprooted a palm tree of considerable size, then dove into the retention pond. The van was only partly submerged as it came to rest on its flank, on the passenger side, facing north–the opposite direction it had been traveling.

The wreck took place just before 8:30 a.m. It involved three adults, authorities at the scene said. One man was able to get out almost immediately. Two others were entrapped. Fire rescue personnel from the Palm Coast Fire Department and Flagler County Fire Rescue pried out the front windshield and rescued the two passengers, who were conscious but badly hurt. The man who had been able to get himself out refused medical attention. The two others, a man and a woman, were transported by ground to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach, in two separate rescues. The third individual accompanied them. A Florida Highway Patrol investigator at the scene said their identities could not yet be made available. A rescuer described the condition of the two more seriously injured individuals as critical.

The Nissan Rogue’s striking the palm tree caused extensive damage to the front of the van, but it may have prevented individuals from drowning. “People complain about palm trees,” one of the rescuers said, “but if the palm tree wasn’t here, they’d be in the middle of that lake.” The van sustained only minor damage from the large exist sign even as it struck it: the sign is designed to essentially unbolt itself from the base when struck so as to minimize its effects in case of a collision. But it’s not clear why the van veered off the interstate–if its driver had intended to take the exit and miscalculated, if it was the result of a moment’s inattention or if something else had caused it to veer off, such as a collision from another vehicle on the highway, or a malfunction.

steve garnes

Debris Fire Captain Steve Garnes retrieved from the interstate’s travel lanes. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The metallic blue van was heavily leaden with the luggage of a recent trip: the travelers had been traveling all night, one of them told rescuers, apparently starting from John Kennedy airport in New York, where they’d landed on a flight from Salt Lake City. Rescuers had salvaged several piles of belongings from the van, including an old stamp collection, a coin collection, a rosary and other such belongings, though the majority of the luggage had remained stacked in the van.

The wreck did not impede traffic, though numerous drivers exiting south at the intersection slowed down to look. The Palm Coast Fire Police provided traffic control. (At one point Fire Police Captain Steve Garnes, who kept hearing vehicles strike an object on the interstate, about 25 yards south of where the exit sign had been leveled, walked into the lanes and retrieved a sizable bolt attached to torn metal which, he said, could have posed a danger to motorcyclists. See the image to the right.) Roger’s Towing removed the van at around 10 a.m.

Exit 293, the Matanzas Woods Parkway interchange, formally opened to traffic on March 28.

matanzas woods parkway crash nissan rogue

The van struck the Exit 293 sign before veering down toward the retention pond. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)


uprooted tree

The uprooted palm tree. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)


nissan rogue

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


nissan rogue

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


crash scene pond

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


exit signs i-95

The exit sign is designed to come unhinged in a collision, to minimize damage to vehicles. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)


crash scene matanzas woods

The overall scene Saturday morning. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)


chapelet rosary matanzas wreck

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

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17 Responses for “3 Hurt, 2 Critical: Van Dives Into Pond After Striking Matanzas Woods Exit Sign and Tree”

  1. Stephanie says:

    I knew this would happen…expect many more. That new road is terrible.

  2. Veteran says:

    What new road? I-95 has been there for years. Looks like somebody fell asleep.

  3. Anonymous says:

    with all the fatal accidents on 95 lately you would think people would slow down and be more careful. It’s hard to blame a road for a drivers error. That’s like blaming a gun for shooting people.

  4. Anonymous says:

    That Exit (imo) is to short of an off ramp for speeds customarily traveled on I-95. Without any warning/slow down recommended 35/45mph speed signs. Too fast and many might end up in that pond. We drove North bound just after the accident. We didn’t see any Emergency vehicles there, but 6 to 8 cars with people out trying to help them. Plus an older man and lady doing what appeared to be CPR on the ground/north side of pond. Others appeared to be trying to gain entrance into the van.
    PRAYERS to all involved!

  5. Bill harvey says:

    This accident has nothing to do with the shape of the roadway or engineering or design of the exit or exit ramps ,idiot drivers that can’t seem not to not speed . Just before I wrote this some idiot passed me 70 mph on old kings road in the 50 mph speed zone with a double yellow line nothing but stupid idiots driving everybody wants to speed

  6. Brad W says:

    The 95 interchange at Matanzas was well done. Silly to blame the construction.

    It looks to be an unfortunate accident and I’m praying for those involved.

  7. YankeeExPat says:

    So we are left to assume that the Exit Sign and the Tree jumped out in front of the driver?

    Poor Driving skills, Lack of Sleep, Lack of Driver Attention, and Preoccupation with something other than Driving are the Reason, not the Road or the Palm Trees

  8. Geezer says:

    Oak tree, you’re in my way…
    –Lynyrd Skynyrd

  9. Jim says:

    There are FDOT standards set in place. Virtually all exits are the same. Driver error. PERIOD

  10. mafungo says:

    Dam tree’s, Dam sign get rid of them all!They belong at the bottom of the ocean with guns.

  11. A.S.F. says:

    I hope that a BAC was taken.

  12. Ken Dodge says:

    “The man who had been able to get himself out refused medical attention.” Hmmm… Does a breathalyzer test count as medical attention?

  13. footballen says:

    Love the Skynard reference.

  14. The Truth says:

    It’s amazing to me that an accident occurred, several were injured and the circumstances are not known yet many on here find it appropriate to make jokes, quote songs, speak about guns, etc. This is exactly what’s wrong with our country. We have become so anti-sympathetic for accidents and tragedies and always assume the worst before knowing the facts/details.

    My thoughts and prayers are with this family.

  15. J Davis says:

    It appears from the article that the van is to blame. The van even “dove into the retention pond.”

  16. JustBNice says:

    The Truth-I agree with much of what you said, except generalizing the people of our country. Yes, too many people are quick to shame and blame.. The rest of us need to be more vocal with our compassion. People on this post, is it really that hard to just be nice and have positive thoughts for the victim’s and let the law sort it out?

  17. Anonymous says:

    They were driving straight on 95. Not taking the exit ramp. More likely the driver fell asleep behind the wheel.

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