A confrontation involving several people on the grounds of the Shell gas station on State Road 100 in Flagler Beach Monday, some of them underage, left a man’s face severely bruised and another man in jail, facing a charge of aggravated assault. A third person involved in the confrontation and alleged to have thrown punches is still at large.
Ricardo Mercado, 40, of 40 Pinwheel Lane in Palm Coast, who owns Splash Professional Car Wash, was arrested today and booked at the Flagler County jail late this afternoon after an investigation by the Flagler Beach Police Department. He is being held on $5,000 bond. Mercado is accused of smashing a man’s face with a crow bar.
The incident took place just before 7 p.m. on May 18. According to Flagler Beach Police Department reports, Roman Miroshnik, a 20-year-old resident of Palm Coast’s W-Section, was with four friends at the gas station, at least two of them teens. Two of the teens, a couple, got into an argument. The girl had not wanted to leave the beach. The boy was upset that she had gotten out of the car. The two acknowledge arguing, but told police that neither touched nor threatened the other.
The argument, by Mercado’s account to police, prompted an adult couple that had been at the gas station to get involved. A woman at first allegedly told the boy not to “hit the girl,” according to Mercado, who says the boy then told the woman to mind her own business. Then a man came out of the gas station—Mercado referred to the man as the woman’s husband, the teens referred to the man as a drunk—and tried to break up the argument.
Miroshnik, who had been in the car until that point, told police that he saw “some guy” run up to his friend and push him, so he—Miroshnik—got out of the car to come to the aid of his friend. Mercado claims Miroshnik and his friend banded up against the other man, so Mercado claims he got involved to break up the fight. Mercado alleges that he was struck in the back of the head. He then told the younger people that he was going to call police, and that they should leave.
According to Mercado’s version, Miroshnik and his friends then got in the car and started driving. “The driver then attempted to run me over,” Mercado wrote in his statement, “at which time I struck his vehicle with a cleaning broom cracking the front windshield.” Mercado claims the male driver then threatened to come back and kill him. Mercado at no point in his statement mentions any violent act he carried out, other than striking the windshield.
But by then Miroshnik’s face had somehow been smashed in. He was at the wheel of a 2003 Dodge Intrepid, with his friends as passengers. It’s not clear from the police reports whether he went to the hospital directly or to Blevins’s house first. A Flagler Beach officer interviewed him and his friends at the hospital. Miroshnik told police that after he got out of his car to break up the fight, he got hit with a crow bar that Mercado was wielding against him. He says he blacked out for a minute or two before coming to, getting back in the car and—after Mercado allegedly struck the windshield and cracked it with the same crow bar– driving to the hospital. When he spoke to the officer, Miroshnik’s right eye had already swollen shut, he had severe lacerations on the right side of his face, and he was bleeding from the nose.
When police interviewed one of the underage teens involved in the incident, the teen corroborated Miroshnik’s account, and the teen’s mother, Sheri Blevins, told police that she wanted to pursue charges. The boy’s girlfriend also corroborated the account.
The car in question, police found, had no tags. Blevins told police that her son had just bought the car at auction—the purchase was documented—and was letting Miroshnik test-drive it to see if he wanted to buy it. Several bloodstains were found on the driver’s side, the driver’s side door and the hood of the Intrepid. Video footage from the gas station, however, proved unhelpful: the incident took place out of view of the video cameras.
On Tuesday morning, the unidentified man involved in the confrontation showed up at the gas station again and spoke to the store clerk, telling him that he’d been struck first by “the kid,” then struck back. The man, still not identified, left the store about 20 minutes later, after Blevins had showed up.