A 76-year-old cyclist riding up Belle Terre late Wednesday morning was struck by an SUV and pinned under the car until paramedics were able to lift the car, tend to him and evacuate him by air. The cyclist had traumatic injuries, but was alive when he was taken away from the scene.
Blood spots were visible beneath the right-front wheel of the Toyota SUV.
The victim is Calvin Pinero of Palm Coast. The driver of the SUV is Antoinette Mary Ulmer, 67, of Palm Coast. She was not at fault, a Florida Highway Patrol investigator said.
The wreck took place at 10:45 at the intersection of Cypress Point Parkway and Belle Terre, closing that stretch of Belle Terre (southbound) from Palm Coast Parkway. The segment of road, in the heart of Palm Coast, remained closed until 11:35 a.m. as a Florida Highway Patrol investigator works the scene.
The cyclist was taken away from the scene at 11:22 by ambulance, to Flagler County Fire Flight, for evacuation to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach. Fire Flight’s landing zone was Cypress Edge Drive, around the city hall offices. The drive was of course closed to traffic during the landing and take-off.
The FHP investigator stressed that it was Pinero who did not follow the rules of the road, having failed to stop and give the right of way to vehicles driving out of Victoria Plaza. “That’s what happened,” the investigator said, referring to frequent incidents where he sees the same pattern. “The bikes are supposed to abide by the signs just like the pedestrians. They don’t.”
“He’s supposed to yield,” the investigator said of Pinero, who suffered “a severe leg injury,” but is expected to survive.
He added: “If these bikes are going to utilize the sidewalks, they’re going to have to abide by the same laws as pedestrians. If they’re going to use the roadways, then they have to abide by the same laws as motor vehicles do.”
Jonathan Shepard, a 16-year-old student at Flagler Institute of Technology, was riding his own bike, going south on Belle Terre, oppisite the same side as Pinero, who was riding north. Shepard stopped at the intersection with Cypress Point. He was listening to music and said he was “in my own little world,” but he remembers seeing the pedestrian sign being red, not white. He then saw Pinero edge into the road, and the driver of the SUV begin to make her turn, left onto Belle Terre, from the driveway that leads to the Kangaroo station.
“He tried to get around her, she was going really slow,” Shepard said. “She didn’t like, hit him very hard, it was kind of a gradual, lose your balance type of thing.” But at first it appeared as if Ulmer, who was at the wheel of a Toyota SR5, was not aware she had struck the cyclist, Shepard said. “She just kept going and every single, and everyone from every angle was like, stop, stop and she wasn’t payiong attention.”
Another woman Rushed to Pinero’s rescue, holding his hands, reassuring him, “it’s going to be OK, it’s going to be OK.”
Shepard said: “I thought he was dead at first because he just wasn’t moving at all.”
Pinero’s shades and watch had fallen at the point of collision, about six feet past the walking stripes.
The wreck was the latest in a series of accidents in Palm Coast or Flagler County this year involving cyclist or bicyclists, four of whom were killed.
“I went over to Kangaroo, I was trying to call somebody,” Shepard said describing his state of mind after the wreck, “I was just wanting to hear comfort because I’d never seen something like that before and I hope I never do again.”