Last Updated: 5 p.m.
The body of Lamar M. Johnson, 40, was recovered from the canal between Carol and Cardwell Court, near Club House Drive, late Thursday night after Johnson had driven his car into the water. The cause of the crash is not known.
Adrien Robidoux, a 59-year-old resident at 1 Carol Court, had gone to the backyard to smoke a cigar at about 11:20 p.m., only to notice a vehicle upside down in the canal, a few feet beyond his boat dock.
His son-in-law, 32-year-old Benjamin Roussel, the homeowner, jumped in, seeking to rescue the occupants in pitch darkness. He managed to get Johnson out and onto the deck at the Carol Court property, and performed CPR. Initially, the caller to 911 reported that there may have been more than one occupant in the vehicle, and that the men were looking still. The dispatch center placed an emergency helicopter on standby–it did not launch–and dispatched a dive team at the request of the fire department.
Lamar Montel Johnson, however, was pronounced deceased by a paramedic at 11:27 p.m., soon after Flagler County Fire Rescue 22 arrived at the scene. Johnson was a resident of Palm Coast’s B-Section.
According to a preliminary investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol, Johnson was traveling west on Casper Drive, approaching Club House. He traveled through the stop sign and the intersection onto the wide grassy shoulder on the west side of Club House Drive, which slopes gradually down to the canal. It isn’t clear if Johnson had a medical episode or somehow missed Casper Drive ending at Club House, but tire marks indicate that his vehicle began turning left as it crossed Club House Drive, the turn becoming sharper once the vehicle drove onto the grass.
There are deep ruts in the grass as the path of the vehicle is traced, though that may also have been due to sogginess. (The homeowner reported no rain in the neighborhood that night.) The vehicle’s path from the intersection draws a diagonal curve once past the intersection, avoiding the property fence of the canal-side house at Cardwell Court and Club House, which suggests that Johnson may have perhaps been trying to correct his course. But the slope is quite pronounced and a vehicle would have difficulty navigating it.
The dive team eventually confirmed that there had been just one occupant in the vehicle.
It isn’t clear when the crash took place, FHP notes. Even after next-of-kin notification was made, the agency did not identify the driver nor his vehicle, though it appears to be a 2016 four-door Chrysler.
The vehicle was removed from the water at around 3 a.m., with the dive team’s help. The Sheriff’s Office’s chaplain reported to the home of the victim early this morning. The southbound lane of Club House Drive had been shut down starting before midnight. It reopened shortly before 4 a.m. The crash resulted in the second road fatality of the year in Flagler County.