James Egan Jr., a 64-year-old Palm Coast resident and school bus driver with the Flagler County school district since 2016, was killed in a motorcycle crash at Belle Terre Parkway and Ponce De Leon Drive Tuesday evening.
The crash took place moments before 5:27 p.m., according to 911 notes, when it was called in, and involved several vehicles.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol and the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, one SUV was on Ponce Deleon, stopped at the stop sign at the intersection with Belle Terre. Another SUV was traveling north on Bell Terre, in the outside lane. Egan was traveling north on the inside lane “in close proximity” to the SUV traveling alongside.
The SUV that had been at the stop sign then entered the outside northbound lane of Belle Terre Parkway, its front colliding with the right side of the northbound SUV. The collision caused the northbound vehicle to spin clockwise, overturn, and land back on its wheels in the ditch on the east (northbound) side of Belle Terre, just past Ponce Deleon Dr., facing west.
How or whether Egan was struck has not yet been determined, FHP’s release states, but his motorcycle “overturned” and he was thrown from it to the center paved median of Belle Terre. The SUV that had started the sequence by pulling out of Ponce de Leon “came to a controlled stop within the paved median break on Belle Terre Pkwy facing south,” FHP states.
A 75-year-old man was at the wheel of the SUV that had pulled out of Ponce de Leon, with a 73-year-old woman in the passenger seat. Neither was injured. The 25-year-old man at the wheel of the northbound SUV had minor injuries.
Egan, a resident of Palm Coast’s B-Section, had been wearing a helmet. He was initially conscious at the scene and talking but not moving, and had a broken leg and possibly broken ribs, according to 911 notes. (One of the SUV’s drivers had called 911.) Authorities called Trauma One, UF Health’s emergency helicopter, but it was not available. At 5:34 authorities attempted to reach Volusia County’s Air One, but by 5:44 still could not get an ETA. Two minutes later the decision was made to take Egan by ground to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach. It isn’t yet clear why FireFlight, Flagler County’s own emergency helicopter, was not available. It usually does not go out of service until 8 p.m.
After inquiring with the county about FireFlight’s status, the chief pilot and director of maintenance wrote, by way of the county’s public information office: “Fireflight went out of service at 1700 on Tuesday, October 5, 2021. The reason was pilot availability from 1700 to 2000, which is our normal operations schedule. Fire administration was made aware of the change of normal operating hours.” 1700 is 5 p.m., 2000 is 8 p.m.
When Egan left the scene aboard a Flagler County Fire Rescue ambulance, he was still alive. It appears he died at the hospital.
The Palm Coast Fire Department and the Palm Coast Fire Police also responded to the scene. Belle Terre Parkway northbound was reduced to one lane of traffic–and was still that way near 8 p.m.
The Flagler County school district hired Egan in October 2015. He drove the so-called Bat bus, serving students from Matanzas High School and Belle Terre Elementary School. “We have a counseling team at the transportation office to help where needed,” a school district spokesman said this morning.
Lakisha Ayers-White, a colleague at the transportation department, had written early this morning: “When you get a call @4:53 a.m. from work, 1st thing I thought was to be asked to cover a run. Nope. Only to be told a co worker died on his way home from work yesterday. James Egan was the safest man I knew that drove a motorcycle only to find out that’s how he passed away. Hurts so much.” She described him as “a devoted husband & father.”
Another friend wrote: “I just found out I lost my best friend in the whole world, Jim Egan tonight. I am without words, and I cannot fathom a world without him in it! This is absolutely devastating. We were just together a few weeks ago. I never left his presence without telling him I loved him. I thank God for that. I know he is with God, because we had many a conversation about it.”
The intersection of Ponce de Leon Drive and Belle Terre was the scene of a motorcycle fatality in August 2019, when Travis E. Stewart, 56, of Palm Coast, was killed in a collision with a pick-up truck that violated Stewart’s right of way. There are no records of citations or court actions against Scarpone in the Flagler County court docket. The intersection was the scene of severe crashes involving cars and cyclists three times in 2013 and once in 2014, among other crashes. The segment of road was recently lit with street lights.
How many more people have to die for something to be done with these intersections, drivers turning left not only put themselves in danger but also others. With so much traffic in PC, traffic lights MUST be put there. Im an experienced driver but I would never dare turning left, Id rather turn right and then do a u-turn.
Greg Forbes says
Agreed they need to block them off and put in more turn arounds. In Michigan we called it the Michigan left
You are 100% correct. I’ll drive out of my way to avoid crossing at these intersections.
PC Guy says
While I agree left turns are generally more dangerous. The person who caused this accident made a right onto northbound Belle Terre. The other vehicles were both traveling northbound.
You do realize that there is a light at Rymfire ? This is more & exactly what I’m on record for commenting about Palm Coast doesn’t have the main North & South roads, East & West to handle the growth in Flagler county. Every residential eventually has to outlet onto Belle Terre, Old Kings Road, & Colbert. All of them have to intersect FL 100, Royal Palms Parkway, Palm Coast Parkway & Matanzas Woods. On Belle Terre the North end of it is a school zone, the South End more schools. They’re going to stack people on top of each other for the apartment complexes they are building.
And then there’s just sloppy driving. I don’t make a left turn onto Belle Terre unless it’s in the middle of the night when people are sleeping. I see it at any f the traffic lights on Belle Terre. There’s always someone that makes that right turn from a traffic light that always goes wide onto the 4 lane Belle Terre A lot of misjudged speed pullouts on other motorists.
End of the day, the growing pains are happening, they’re building it dense for too many humans in one area. And there will be the big 3 North & South if you exclude US 1, I-95 & A1A. Flagler is a narrow county from US1 to A1A
Why is it that Flagler County is not providing enough equipment and pilots to take care of trauma cases? The one we do have doesn’t fly after 8 pm! We should have 2 helicopters and multiple pilots. Seems like Staly gets a huge chunk of the funds and to heck with enough for emergency equipment. Flagler county is growing by leaps and bounds and it would seem to me that our commissioners would wake up and smarten up to see what’s happening here. Of course if one of them or their family needed a med flight it would definitately be available. It’s a very scary feeling living in a city that has such sloppy emergency flight service. Shame on you
Concerned Citizen says
Speaking as a long service Emergency Services volunteer in the area,
Our BOCC decided years ago that money could be saved reducing Fire Flight to 12 hour days. And cutting the number of pilots available. This put a severe shortage on the operational capability of a mission critical asset.Fastforward years down the road to now and they still won’t revise the ops plan to adjust for growth and needs of service in the area.
We can rectify this to some point. Start lighting up those phones and emails to the BOCC. And start demanding change. Maybe we can get Flagler Live to help us out by putting pressure on the BOCC to make changes immediatley. Rather than snowball the issue with feasability studies
Barbara Childs RN MSN MBA says
It’s called “On-Call”! The pilots don’t have to sitting in an office. As a nurse that has worked ER in L.A and Las Vegas, Nv, I have never heard of a Flight for Life helicopter not making a rescue no matter what time! This man probably could have survived… unless he had secondary problems….
I totally agree our helicopter should fly at all hours as needed. We shouldn’t have to have a helicopter from another county come when we have our own. When I spoke to a first responder about this and told them this is stupid they said talk to the city/ county commissioners. That tells me it’s coming from them! This has to change!!
David Schaefer says
Another fatal wreck caused by an elderly driver who was not paying attention., when are these people going to be held accountable and be required to take a road and written test 60 and above. RIP Mr Egan.
The traffic in Palm Coast is horrible and getting worse since they keep allowing huge housing developments and apartments to be built. The roads were not built to handle the traffic the City of Palm Coast is responsible for. They don’t put in properly lighting, they don’t put in street lights or sidewalks where needed. So, innocent people are losing their lives for the lack of the City of Palm Coast not doing their jobs for the safety of our community.
Forget improving the swells their responsible for, that has stopped. What is going on? But you can bet they will raise our property taxes, for what?
$5 million addition to a money losing tennis center. Just as bad a money manager as the county.
Charlie Ericksen Jr says
In spite of the posted 45 MPH , on Bell Terre, it’s generally the “slow” rate, with lane changes , passing on the right , and the 60+ mph motorcyclists ..Yesterday, I had a Flagler County ambulance, with, no lights on, doing 45 all the way in the left lane, making it difficult for those 50+ MPH passers.. Lots of red tail lights.. Common sense does not prevail…..It will take 24 hour survailence , and that’s not going to happen.. The City announced many months ago, , a widening of the rode… but nothing
Concerned Citizen says
I’m more concerned about getting Fire Flight back on 24 hour service.
We should have never lost it in the first place. It’s foolish to rely on MOU’s from out of county agencies. Look at not being able to get medivac on this incident. And this isn’t the first time it’s happened.
I’m not armchair quarter backing this either. I volunteer in the area. And am retired from Fire Rescue as a Lt from another agency. When we call trauma alerts seconds literally matter. And having air support makes the difference between life and death.
I remember when these changes were made back in Troy Harper days. And just shook my head. I knew no good would come of it. And why the BOCC won’t rectify it is beyond me
Been there says
This accident was not the motorcyclist fault and have Indian personally involved in a motorcycle accident on Belle Terre and white view where we were hit head on by a car turned left in front of us it sad for you to say the 60 mph plus motorcyclists are the problem.
The problem isn’t the vehicle doing the 45 mph speed limit its the people that think they are entitled to do 50+ or even 60+ mph when the speed limit is 45 mph. If everyone would just drive the speed limit that would make the roads much safer.
In the case of this particular accident the problem was the SUV driver did not yield right of way and pulled out into the oncoming traffic. Many of the neighborhood intersection on Bell Terre parkway and definitely in need of a traffic light.
Land of no turn signals says says
Just another day dealing with the moronic drivers in this city.I ride everyday and deal with idiot’s almost every mile I ride, hence the label land of no turn signals.RIP Jim
Agreed. Follow a Flagler sheriff car and I bet most of the time no turn signals are used.
This is so sad. My sincerest condolences to Mr. Egan’s family. I also question why the helicopter (which has very limited hours of service anyway) was once again not available when needed. Those minutes of delay often determine the difference between a person’s life or death.
Sunshine, I’m with you and do exactly what you do to keep safe. Left hand turns are dangerous here in Palm Coast.
Jane Gentile-Youd says
Our one and only helicopter was purchased USED in 1998…. Our 20 hours 2 shift pilots was cut to 8am to 8PM only in 2013.
We need another helicopter; we need at least 2 more pilots and we need to GIVE OUR TAX DOLLARS to Fire Rescue instead of giving over 33% of our TAX money to the Showman Sheriff Staly!
Could this innocent man been saved had he arrived sooner at the hospital by air? Fire Rescue and all of their staff are UNDERAID for the work they do but nobody seems to care.
‘Flagler County has Everything’ says the official county website – yeah including one helicopter which was already USED 23 years ago when purchased. My heart goes out to Mr. Egan’s family. Just maybe he might have survived with trauma care sooner. May he rest in peace.
Concerned Citizen says
Jane we don’t often see eye to eye on things but I agree with you whole heartedly.
I have volunteered for a long time in thr Emergency Services field after retiring from Fire Rescue. I worked for a large agency in Ga and had ample air support when I called trauma alerts. And it made a world of difference. We had our own in-county air assets on 24 hour standby. And did not follishly rely on MOU’s from other agencies.
It’s time Flagler County let’s the BOCC know we need better services. And that it’s there job to provide it.
Such a tragedy, sounds like Mr. Egan was screened from seeing the SUV pull out of Ponce by the vehicle next to him. Poor guy probably never knew what happened. I did not know him but grieve for his family just the same.
The obvious thought is that this all could have been avoided if the SUV on Ponce had waited for the traffic before pulling out on to Belle Terre. But, why should he? Stop signs are only a suggestion, right? When heading north on Belle Terre it is highly unusual to see traffic from the side streets come to a complete stop, let alone look for oncoming traffic.
Monday morning this week was a classic example at the same intersection. The northbound Belle Terre traffic pulls off the light at Rymfire and speeds up past 50. A car on Ponce approaching the stop sign sees them coming but also does not want to wait for traffic to clear so he rolls through the stop sign into the oncoming traffic. The lead car in the lane that the Ponce car pulls into swerves into the adjacent lane forcing the car next to him to brake hard and swerve to avoid getting hit. Everybody in line does the brake light shuffle. The guy that caused all the commotion is meanwhile heading north on Belle Terre without a clue as to the accident he almost caused.
Our only hope is that the ten new deputies we are going to pay for will be a bit more traffic oriented that the current regime allows them to be. Seeing deputies parked in church parking lots up and down Belle Terre, door-to-door with another squad car with cars speeding by does not give one the impression that the traffic laws are of any concern.
I am not sure what the answer is, a major crack-down on traffic violations, specifically speeding, reckless driving, and failures to stop? Better driver education? Mandatory driver testing, at all ages? Something has got to happen before more folks die needlessly.
Again, this tragedy did not need to happen.
Agree. I’m so upset that we didn’t have available life flights. The three of three that could have meant critical minutes in keeping this man alive failed to give him the chance to get the emergency care he needed. Something needs to change. NOW
My sincere sympathies to this much beloved man’s family and friends–and also the children who rode his school bus. It must also ne upsetting for them.
Pam Ricco says
So very sad and senseless!! Rest in peace as you have gained your angel wings and are riding free on that gold paved road in Paradise!! My deepest sympathies and prayers for his family and friends and all those whose lives he’s touched!!
Karen Bivone says
RIP … payers to his family and friends… don’t understand why we have emergency services but just during limited times??? That’s not emergency services…
The Geode says
Around that same time, I had to put up with a helicopter noisily circling around in Bunnell as a dozen cops chased some knucklehead through the neighborhood…
Concerned Citizen says
That explains why Fire Flight wasn’t available for medivac.
Too many deputies and too little enforcement !!!!
I’m so upset that we didn’t have available life flights. The three of three that could have meant critical minutes in keeping this man alive failed to give him the chance to get the emergency care he needed. Something needs to change. NOW. My heart goes out to his family. 🙏
The whole town is way overpopulated now. Takes 45 minutes to drive 4 miles!!! This town is ruined now! Might as well move to Jacksonville.
Just saying says
In response to “the land of no turn signals” I witnessed this by a fire chief vehicle today. Too many people with 1 hand on the steering wheel and the other on the phone leaving no hands to use the turn signal. Wake of people, learn to steer with your leg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My condolences to the family of Mr Egan.
C’mon man says
Mandatory drivers exams including a vision test should be voted on and put into law. Fact is that as we get older our vision and judgement declines In regards to operating a motor vehicle. If you cannot pass a test you should not be driving
Mary Fusco says
I am 75 and my vision and judgment are fine. The fact is that I have been driving over 50 years without an accident or a traffic ticket. I learned to drive defensively and I still do. If drivers did the speed limit posted on roads and kept a distance between themselves and the car ahead, they would have time to react. If drivers learned the rules of the road and kept their eyes on the road instead of a phone or changing a radio, we would have fewer deaths like this one. Sad that people are just so dumb and self centered.
C’mon man says
If your vision is fine then there would be no problem taking a vision test. The problem is that there are people out there who say their vision is fine when in fact it’s not. Vision and reactions times worsen are we age. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out
C’mon man says
Mary I’m sorry but your vision and reaction time is not the same as it was 50 years ago when you first started driving.
While that may be true for the elderly, the fact remains speeding, residential burnouts, distracted driving, etc.are younger motorists issues. The other evening I’m on Belle Terre and there’s a guy driving a 4WD pickup truck & towing a boat. He was constantly accelerating the truck to speeds that exceeded the speed limit and the acceleration rate was far quicker than anyone else on the road. Yeah, I was behind that trailered larger boat and was concerned for any potential accident had another stopped in front for a right turn and the vehicle unable to stop. Fortunately there wasn’t an accident, but it could’ve been a news story just the same. My biggest concern is being in the smaller economy car and getting runover by SUV’s & Trucks that have poorer visibility across the board. I may have right of way, but if the larger vehicle never sees my smaller vehicle, hit or runover is generally what will occur under those circumstances.
Jim was one of the nicest guys i have ever met. He treated every kid like they were his own. My kids were no exception. There was a comfort knowing that he absolutely made it to heaven. Praying for Sue, Cori, Jake and Josb and family.
Concerned Citizen says
For those who wish to help correct the lack of 24 hour Fire Flight Service.
Please contact our BOCC and County Administrator. Sometimes it takes a village.
Contact the county! In these times we can not afford to feel any less safe then we already do. The lack of services for our county is unforgiveable.
Jerry M. says
Mr. Egan very likely had internal bleeding due to blunt trauma, which happens in the majority of severe motorcycle accidents. This type of injury is obvious to trained personnel and requires rapid medical attention, which is why EMS initially called LifeFlight. With LifeFlight not available, why wasn’t Mr. Egan transported to AdventHealth hospital in Palm Coast, ~5 miles from the accident scene? Instead, Mr. Egan was transported ~25 miles, in rush hour traffic, to Halifax hospital in Daytona where he passed at the hospital. Valuable life saving minutes were wasted during this communication breakdown and poor decision making. I do believe if LifeFlight was available and transportation was handled differently, Mr. Egan would still be with us. RIP Jim, my friend and colleague.
Concerned Citizen says
Sadly Advent Health doesn’t have a trauma center.
That needs to be corrected and sooner rather than later. This county is growing rapidly. And we deserve the best in Emergency Services and Critical care. Halifax is way to far for ground transport. The only time it is feasible is when an Air Ambulance is available.
And how much time was wasted trying to get 3? As soon as the first one wasn’t available it would have been better to get on the road.
Thank you Flagler Live for the detailed reporting on this sad event. Mr. Egan was a good man, gone too soon. Us motorcyclists know it is a dangerous hobby and even the most careful rider can suddenly encounter something unfortunate like this. It could be my fate too but I will not give it up, at least not yet. James was a successful and valuable man in this realm and I know he now lives on in the next phase which we will all someday experience. My condolences to his family. May they celebrate a great life well lived!