Bunnell’s Dalton Edwards Charged With 2 Counts of DUI Manslaughter in Deaths of 2 Women in Flagler Estates Crash
FlaglerLive | July 22, 2016
On January 9, Dalton Edwards, a 21-year-old Bunnell resident, was critically injured in a two-vehicle t–bone crash in Flagler Estates, the isolated, mostly deserted subdivision in northwest Flagler County, straddling the boundary with St. Johns County.
Edwards was lucky. He survived despite critical injuries and burns after his vehicle caught fire. He had a long and difficult recovery, spending almost two weeks in the hospital. But the crash killed two people: Katie Stecker, 19, of St. Augustine, who was riding with Edwards in a red Ford pick-up truck–they had bee partying nearby–and Victoria Sutton, 20, of Hastings, Fla., who was driving alone in a Chevy Trailblazer.
On Thursday, Edwards was arrested on two counts of DUI manslaughter, two counts of vehicular homicide, a count of DUI with property damage, and a count of possession of alcohol by a person under 21. He had not yet turned 21 at the time of the crash. He did so on April 30.Edwards blew through a stop sign as he drove south on Isaacson Avenue, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report. Sutton was driving west on Palatka Boulevard. She had the right of way. Edwards’s pick-up crashed sideways into Sutton’s vehicle, catapulting it into a ditch. Sutton had not been wearing a seat belt, a post-crash inspection revealed. She was ejected from the vehicle.
Alexander Koufodontis, 21, of Palm Coast, was riding with Edwards and was also injured, but not critically.
Edwards’s arrest warrant was issued by Judge Charles Tinlin in St. Johns County on July 19. Troopers got information that Edwards may have been staying with a friend in Palm Coast, on Wood Acre Lane. (It’s not clear why they did not seek him out at his home, listed at 3129 N. Old Dixie Highway in Bunnell.) The highway patrol requested that an unmarked Flagler County Sheriff’s vehicle proceed to the house on Wood Acre to check whether Edwards’s car was there. A deputy saw the car leaving that address and travel west on White View Parkway. The unmarked car followed it for a distance, as the highway patrol trooper was approaching from the opposite direction.The patrolman then u-turned and started following Edwards, clocking him at 5 miles above the speed limit–50 in a 45, usually not the sort of offense that causes a traffic stop. But this was different. The trooper verified Edwards’s identity through the rearview mirror, according to the arrest report, and after Edwards turned onto Wynnfield, the trooper turned on his emergency lights and puleld him over, placing him under arrest then and there and reading him the charges.
Stecker, according to her obituary, was a 2014 graduate of St. Joseph Academy in St. Augustine and was pursuing studies in American Sign Language Interpreting at Florida State College in Jacksonville. She was a dedicated volunteer for charitable and Catholic causes. She had traveled on mission trips to Jamaica with the Food for the Poor organization, had been president of the Students for the Poor group, and worked with the Catholic Heart Work Camp and with St. Francis House. She was a leader in her church’s children’s ministry. She was also an accomplished equestrienne who trained and gave lessons for several years at the Davis Equestrian Center in St. Augustine.
Sutton, a native of Orlando, Orlando, was a 2014 graduate of Giles County High School.
Edwards was taken to the Flagler County jail and booked at 8:21 p.m. on $367,518 bond. He spent the night at the Flagler jail, and was transferred to the St. Johns County jail, where he was booked at 3:30 this afternoon. He remains at the jail.
DUI manslaughter is a second-degree felony with a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.