A chain of wrecks involving five vehicles and starting with Palm Coast’s Clement Demesmin driving his Honda into a tractor trailer that was towing another trailer, shut down the three northbound lanes of I-95, two miles south of the Palm Coast Parkway exit, at 11 p.m. late Saturday night as the Florida Highway Patrol and rescue personnel tended to 14 people involved in the wrecks, including children and teenagers.
It was the latest in a series of violent wrecks on Flagler roads this week, although Saturday’s I-95 wreck did more damage to vehicles than to people.
According to the highway patrol, Demesmin, 48, was traveling north in the outside lane in his 1992 Honda Accord, when he failed to see a semi-tractor trailing another semi. Pedro Baguet Mejias, 52, of Hialeah, was at the wheel of the semi, with Raul Bravo, 54, of Miami, riding along. The Honda’s front side was crumpled. Demesmin, who sustained only minor injuries, was treated at Florida Hospital Flagler. Neither men in the truck was injured.
But the damaged Honda was stopped in the roadway. Brian Ruiz, 31, of Palm Coast, was driving a 2005 Toyota Corolla. He didn’t see the Honda, and ran into it, resulting in some $5,000 damage to the Corolla, and minor injuries to himself and Eva Zomar, 23, of DeLand, who was riding with him, as were three other passengers: Yarelli Jaramillo and Jose Jamarillo of DeLand, both juveniles, but whose precise ages were not provided, and Yasmin Ruiz, 9, of Palm Coast. All three sustained minor injuries. All of that vehicles’s occupants were transported to Florida Hospital Flagler with the exception of Zomar, who was taken to Florida Hospital Ormond.
Shortly after that collision, two Mazdas added to the pile-up: Lisa Thomas, 46, of Jacksonville, was driving a 2012 Mazda2, a subcompact, with Antigua Jackson, 21, in the passenger seat, and three children in the rear: Shatoria Swain, 4, Donnie Williams, 7, and Jalisa Williams, 18, all of Jacksonville.
Thomas’s Mazda was in the outside lane. Elias Boudebes, 46, of Palm Coast, was driving a 1999 Mazda 626 in the center lane, parallel to the other Mazda. As Thomas neared the Honda that was still in the road (after it had struck the semi, and been struck by the Corolla), she steered left to avoid it–and stuck the right-front of Boudebes’s Mazda, sending her car into a spin. Thomas’s Mazda struck the center guard rail before coming to a stop in the left lane of I-95, according to the highway patrol’s report.
Thomas had minor injuries and was treated at Florida Hospital Flagler. None of the passengers, including Jackson and the three other young passengers in the the car, were injured. Nor was Boudebes injured, though the subcompact Mazda sustained $10,000 in damages, and the Mazda 626 sustained $5,000 in damages.
By then, the Honda, the Toyota and the two Mazdas were all disabled and at various spots on I-95. I-95 was shut down. The Flagler Beach Fire Department was the primary responder; the Palm Coast Fire Department, the Palm Coast Fire Police, and Flagler County Fire Rescue were also at the scene.
One lane was reopened 26 minutes after midnight, and all three lanes were reopened at 1:21 a.m. FHP’s Christopher Conrad was the chief investigator at the scene.