Last Updated: 10:43 p.m.
David Dalecki, 47, of Ormond-by-the-Sea, died this afternoon in a two-vehicle crash on I-95 just south of Palm Coast’s weigh station, between Mile Markers 284 and 285. Another man was injured.
Dalecki is the husband of Cindy Dalecki, the owner of Marketing 2 Go in Palm Coast, the president of the Flagler Beach Rotary, and one of Flagler County’s most prominent and dynamic personalities. The couple have two sons and had celebrated 23 years of marriage in February. David Dalecki owned his own company, Got Tools. A Dalecki associate confirmed his identity late this evening.
Both vehicles involved in the crash were traveling south around 4:15 p.m. Dalecki was alone in a Chevy Silverado pick-up truck when, for reasons not yet determined, he had veered off onto the grassy shoulder of the highway for an extended stretch (to the right of the paved emergency lane), then back onto the highway, according to a Florida Highway Patrol investigator at the scene.
As he veered back on, Dalecki collided with the Chevy Traverse, driven by John Henningsen, 78, of Ormond Beach. The Traverse rolled or flipped, then crashed on top of the guardrail. The Traverse ended up facing west, perpendicular to the guardrail, half its body in the southbound section of the highway, half in the northbound.
The Silverado was damaged on its front and driver’s side, but not catastrophically, and ended in the left emergency lane and shoulder of the southbound lanes, facing directly against traffic, north. A Flagler County Fire Rescue unit’s paramedics pronounced the death of Dalecki almost immediately after arriving at the scene.
The crash itself is not necessarily what caused the death: that’s to be determined by an autopsy. There were some indications at the scene that a medical issue could possibly have played a role, according to trooper’s early observations.
Henningsen was transported by ground to Florida Hospital Flagler. He was aware when pulled out of the SUV, and his injuries are not life-threatening.
The crash has significantly tied up traffic in both directions, north and south from the scene of the crash, though the northbound lanes are not restricted: gawkers are slowing down traffic. One of the three southbound lanes is closed to traffic, and is expected to remain closed for a few hours as authorities investigate. The Florida Highway Patrol is conducting toe traffic homicide investigation.
About a dozen vehicles had stopped to help victims of the crash immediately after impact, according to Mike Burke, who was driving a loaded Penske rental truck north, toward Savannah.
“It was nice to see that we had probably at least 12 cars stop” to help, Burke said. “Plenty of hands. A little faith in humanity is restored.”
He was about 200 yards south of the point of impact when it happened. He was among five people from different vehicles who rushed to the aid of Henningsen in the SUV.
“It took five of us to get him out,” Burke said. “One guy on top, one guy crawled through the back, three of us on the bottom.” One of the men helping, a former Marine, had a knife he used to cut the victim’s seat belt. “We had him out before the paramedics arrived. He was pretty shaken up. We pulled him out because we thought he had a gas leak. It turned out it was transmission fluid and antifreeze.” As he spoke, Burke looked at his hands, still bearing bloody marks from the victim he’d helped.
By 6 p.m., two lanes were open southbound, but traffic had backed up almost to Palm Coast Parkway. Traffic northbound had resumed normal speed.
The Palm Coast Fire Police was regulating traffic. The Palm Coast Fire Department, Flagler County Fire Rescue and the Sheriff’s Office had all responded, in addition to the Florida Highway Patrol.