Charges are pending against Melvin Adona, a 51-year-old Palm Coast resident, in the alleged hit-and-run collision with three pedestrians early Sunday that caused the death of two women and critically injured a Bunnell man on U.S. 1, just north of State Road 100.
FHP identified the victims who died as Jacqueline Martin, 50, and Georgette Fisher, 59, both of Palm Coast, and Philip McClure, 48, of Bunnell, who suffered incapacitating injuries.
Adona was at the wheel of a white 2022 Chevy Silverado, driving north with his wife on U.S. 1 a few minutes past midnight when the trio of pedestrians, crossing the road from west to east, was struck. Speed, authorities say, may be a factor.
Neither Adona nor his 49-year-old wife reported the crash to authorities, or render aid, as required by law, authorities say. The crash was witnessed by a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy who happened to be in the area, and who called in the incident by radio, telling dispatchers, according to 911 notes, that the white truck “took off.”
The deputy reported the crash at 16 minutes after midnight. Debris was everywhere, according to dispatch notes. It was almost immediately evident that one of the victims had died. Flagler County Fire Rescue’s Engine 62 got to the scene within minutes and conducted CPR on victims. One of the women was pronounced deceased at 22 minutes after midnight, the second was pronounced deceased at 26 minutes after midnight. The 48-year-old man was transported to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach.
At 28 minutes after midnight, Adona’s son showed up at the scene in an emotional state and spoke with a sheriff’s deputy. He told the deputy that his father was the driver of the pick-up truck and that his parents had been in a crash. While the deputy was speaking with him, Adona’s son got a call from his parents, according to 911 notes. He answered, put the phone on speaker, and let the deputy hear that his parents were in the Terranova parking lot, the pizzeria, at 208 North State Street, only a few dozen yards from the scene of the crash. Multiple sheriff’s units rushed there. Deputies detained Adona and his wife as the on-scene investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol began.
In other circumstances, if a driver–who is not speeding or impaired–strikes pedestrians crossing a road, then stops, reports the crash and renders aid, that driver would not be liable for charges. Rather, if the pedestrians survive, they would be charged with improperly crossing a roadway. Because of the different circumstances of Sunday’s crash, “it is being investigated as a criminal case,” FHP Lt. Tiffany Williams said today.
The pending charges would be against Adona, not his wife. While both were temporarily detained, Adona was not booked at the county jail. That’s usually the case in such crashes: authorities don’t want to start the clock on speedy trial or force investigators to rush through their steps. Adona volunteered a blood sample for a toxicology report, which may take weeks to yield results, among other investigatory steps. But leaving the scene of a crash with deaths is a felong that carries a mandatory minimum of four years in prison, per count.
Authorities secured surveillance video footage from Terranova.
The crash and subsequent investigation caused the closure of U.S. 1’s northbound lanes well into the morning hours.