Ten minutes before 16-year-old Kelvin Smith Jr. was killed by an unknown driver as Smith biked north on Old Kings Road on New Year’s Eve, he’d been pulled over by a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy, emergency communications records from that evening show.
Smith had been at his house with a friend, Christian Wells, also 16, when both decided to go to Wells’s house at 9 Fanbury Lane.
“I observed both male subject riding a bicycle and a skateboard (long board) in the middle of the roadway on Florida Park Drive,” the deputy J. Gibson Smith reported, “and when they observed my marked patrol vehicle, they immediately made a left turn onto Fleetwood Dr. I was able to turn my vehicle around and make contact with the subjects at the intersection of Fleetwood Drive and Fernwood Lane.”
The two boys told the deputy they were going to Fanbury Lane, and the deputy let them go. The deputy’s report was recorded at 7:11 p.m.
Smith was struck from behind at 7:21 p.m. as he rode his bike. He was pronounced dead at 7:35 p.m. The vehicle that struck him drove on, even though it would have been impossible for the driver, according to the Florida Highway Patrol investigator working the case, not to know that he or she had struck someone. The impact was too severe.
“They would have known,” FHP Homicide Investigator J. Roundtree said.
A week after the crash, investigators are still piecing together clues, conducting analyses on what debris they have collected from the scene, and seeking answers—and help from any potential witnesses, not just at the scene that evening, but from residents who may have noticed their neighbor’s or co-worker’s vehicle showing new damage.
Roundtree said based on all the parts recovered from Old Kings Road, the vehicle is believed to be an older-model Ford truck or large Ford SUV. The damage is going to be on the front of the vehicle, more isolated toward the driver’s side, the front bumper, the grill, with the hood possibly dented and the front windshield on the driver’s side possibly damaged. “I’m going to suspect that the damage would be significant,” Roundtree said.
The driver’s side mirror is very likely to be damaged or just hanging on.
The evening of the crash, a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy located a white Dodge with front-end damage, its engine still warm, parked and abandoned in back of Kingdom Hall, the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ building on Old Kings Road. But that vehicle was ruled out. “The damage didn’t match the dynamics of the crash, it just wasn’t adding up,” the investigator said.
Sheriff’s deputies investigated other local vehicles, including a white Dodge truck and white Ford truck at a home on Fariston Place, with front end damage. The homeowner told deputies that the trucks’ damage was old, and an FHP unit from the crash scene responded and ruled out the vehicles.
“There’s several, several, several vehicle parts that we have that are being sent to FDLE to give us make model, vehicle year based on the materials, paint that they’re made of.”
Smith was a student at Matanzas High School and had three siblings. He’d moved to Palm Coast with his family only five or six months earlier from Ft. Lauderdale. “Kelvin, he was unique. He had his own personality, his own way. He’s going to leave an impression on you whenever you meet him,” Kelvin Smith Sr. told News 4 in Jacksonville the day after his son’s death. “Right now we’re just trying to pull it together and make it happen. It’s hard, but we have to stand strong and stand together and make it happen and just get on with it.”
The family’s GoFundMe account has raised $1,335 so far for Smith’s funeral arrangements. “I’m going through [an] extremely difficult time as you can imagine and any amount I can raise to help alleviate the burden that is being put on to me right now would be greatly appreciated,” Smith’s mother wrote on the account. “These funds are greatly needed for I have no insurance to put my son away.”
A sheriff’s deputy who first arrived at the scene of the crash had detected a pulse from Smith as he was in the road. He immediately applied cchest compressions until he was relieved by pareamedics, with Wells standing nearby.
Meanwhile, “there’s several, several, several vehicle parts that we have that are being sent to FDLE to give us make model, vehicle year based on the materials, paint that they’re made of,” Roundtree said, referring to the analysis labs at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. But investigators don’t yet have the color of the vehicle.
At this point, they are relying as much on analysis as on witnesses, who should call FHP at 904-825-5080 if anyone has information, or contact Roundtree by email, or call the sheriff’s office to relay information.
Roundtree said CrimeStoppers is likely to get involved and offer a reward for information leading to a break in the case.
So let me get this straight. Deputy Darren Wilson I mean Deputy J Gibson decides to make contact because of bike riding and skateboarding in the street? Oh yeah, I forgot two teens were making a suspicious turn to a place they were going anyway and this clown calls in a report about that. Wow! Maybe if Law enforcement and the politicians here were that aggressive with everything in this town we wouldn’t have half the problems we do. But nice to know your shift consist of making unnecessary contact with some kids who were probably trying to avoid you for their safety. Notice the report doesn’t say he requested they stay out of the street for THEIR safety! Go find out who ran the kid over on dark road on a night most people drink. Ridiculous.
Furthermore, how many cars has DETECTIVE Gibson pulled over for speeding or otherwise on Fl Park drive? The residence complain of speeding so much it got to the point radar was installed on that fast traveled road. In my well over 25 years of living here I’ve never seen a car pulled over and very, very rarely where that young man was killed on Old Kings. Is this part of Staley’s “proactive gang monitoring” being instituted? Run kids names through the computer for bogus suspicions but not protecting them from poorly designed and horribly lit areas they should be worried about? Same crap different day.
The Ghost of America says
Yeah, literally pulled over for riding a bike while black. Good job there fcso, keep racism alive.
I really look forward that the perpetrator driver that hit and killed Kevin will be apprehended for hit and run and I pray for the Almighty soothing his family on his loss.
I also hope for parents of little children as young as 4 and 5 years old totally unsupervised/monitored while riding their bikes at significant speeds into incoming traffic out of cul de sac’s, or driveways with total typical child obliviousness of danger.
Our streets are not intended to be used as playgrounds. baseball, football courts, riding skateboards or bicycles in a playful way. Our public roads are intended for automobile traffic or non motorized riders that strictly observe the traffic rules and ordinances while exercising the “privilege” of using them. That is the reason why motorist pay a license to have the privilege of respectfully using our roads.
I see too often around us little children and or teens making use of our public roads like they are their playgrounds most of the day and after dark risking theirs, motorist and other peoples lives.
If the cop would have done something he’d accused of racism. Some kids have no respect for the law. As far as Florida Park Drive, I travel that street and the speeders are residents. I drove the speed limit and was passed by someone doing 15 to 29 miles over the speed limit and up ahead the driver opened the garage door and drove in. So stop whining after all you’re getting a $5 million dollar make over at Holland Park.
Hey WHAT. The article doesn’t say what the Deputy said to the boys. Maybe he talked to them about safety, having lights on the bike, etc. Why assume the Deputy harassed the two teens or thought they were up to no good. Also, I believe Deputies are required to radio in on any stop they make for the safety of all and for their own accountability.
Yeah, instead of harassing teens on bikes maybe they cops should patrol for drunk drivers. I see drunks all the time. Get out of the donut shop parking lot and do your job.
I totally agree with you “WHAT?”
The traffic and speeding is out of control, and notice, too, that the kids were most likely crossing the road from Kelvin’s road onto Flemingwood. That means they had to get in the street to crossover from one side to the other… Rocket Science strikes again. How dare a picture get painted that this young man was somehow to blame for his life being taken by a coward.
Read the article people! Damage to the drivers side of vehicle, drivers side mirror broken – all on left side! Yes this is very tragic, but rider was OBVIOUSLY operating bike in the MIDDLE of the roadway! Also, STOP WITH THE RACISM GAME – when two people see a marked patrol car coming and duck off to a side road, it is the officers duty to investigate the reason why? Race doesn’t dictate suspicious activities being checked out! I hope they do find the person responsible, but wish people would stop pointing fingers at everything and everyone else! RIP
can't fool me says
The report doesn’t include the conversation between the boy and the officer so he may well have warned the boys NOT TO RIDE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET (as the report does clearly state). My husband and I enjoy cycling and often observe that many of the younger riders wear dark clothing, have no reflectors or lights, talk on their phones or listen to music while riding, and have no rear view mirror on their handlebar. While the cyclist is legally entitled to ride anywhere inside his lane (riding in the same direction as the traffic flow), the aforementioned factors make it very difficult for a motorist to see him in time. These factors contribute to an accident in the making but there is NO EXCUSE for a motorist leaving the scene of an accident.
The young man’s death is no doubt a tragedy. But, how do you think the people who break into cars and often homes travel through our neighborhoods? Bikes and on foot, knowing who is out on our streets after dark is not harassment, it’s good policing techniques. Stop helping criminals commit crimes by blaming the police. Thanks FCSO.
@Billy- Perfectly said!
Since the boys were minors and if conditions were not safe why did the officer not contact the youths parents rather than let them continue on? Sounds to me the office could have prevented the tragedy and should be held accountable.
Oh boy; here’s an opportunity for people to come together and mourn and console a heart broken mother, and here come the BLM folks turning it into Ferguson II. You should be ashamed of yourselves. It’s obvious this kid had a major part to play in his own death, but that’s what teenage kids do: silly things that are dangerous. The officer had a right and a duty to pull them over when he observed them riding in the middle of the street with no lights on a dark night, a holiday renowned for impaired driving. Next he will be criticized for not arresting the kids because if the officer did, this kid would be alive today; but of course, Palm Coast would be burned to the ground by a few people lacking the intelligence to apply any logic to a tragic scenario. My thoughts and prayers to the family, and I urge the perpetrator to do the right thing and turn himself in. You will be found eventually.
What kind of person can hit a boy on a bicycle and keep going?
I hope he (or she) is caught, exposed and incarcerated.
Can’t charge said person with impairment now, though–just felony scumbaggery.
My condolences to Kelvin’s friends and family. What a terrible thing….
What’s worse than losing a child?
I can think of a hundred times when I was a kid (and a few in my adulthood) when I took a short cut or placed myself vulnerable to my surroundings. Fortunately it didn’t cost me my life. Battling over whether they should be on the road at that time or not is mute point. Kids should be able to get from A to B without the gamble! Most cities have sidewalks or bike lanes for its citizens to get out of the house and enjoy exercise. Don’t we want that?? As for the officer who talked with the boys… Don’t you think he has considered what he wish he would have said or done in hindsight?? I was driving down the road a couple of minutes after it happened and I saw our Flagler sheriffs fighting like hell for Kelvin’s life!! I have prayed for them everynight since. I hope we will look at the Old Kings and make some change happen… Lights/sidewalk/bike lane etc. it’s read of shredding up our neighbors indecently.
Is every encounter treated so septic? Subject??? Community policing please!!! I imagine this time of night one cannot see race from a distance and maybe the fact that they were in a vulnerable state is why the stop was conducted. I don’t think race was a factor in initiating the stop. But ironically this stop contributed to the hit and run with timing. Twilight zone. I feel for the kid and his family. RIP!
Lets all get this straight. It had nothing to do with his color, instead it had to do with the fact that they were in the middle of the road, in the dark. He spoke to them, to tell them to get out of the road. He was obviously comfortable with what they told him, and let them be on their way. It is not the cops fault that he got hit! And BTW when a cop is going to make contact with anyone they have to call it in prior to it happening, so that is why he called in that….”two teens were making a suspicious turn”. He would have spoken to white kids also, it didn’t matter what friggen color they were.
If you think the day in the life of law enforcement is so easy, cut & dry and just a walk in the park, why don’t you go do a ride along with them for a while. Maybe then you will shut your mouth about your racist BS.
And yes to R&R’s comment he would have been accused of racism if he would have done ANYTHING more than he did.
I can’t believe how stupid comments I reading, all the police did was to tell these kids to get out of the road so they didn’t get run over! This had nothing to do with color it had everything to do with safety and it seems that the boys didn’t listen to the officer and continued to ride in the street and some jackass ran them over.
I’d like to know how the damage is on the driver’s side!!!
my thought says
Sometimes bikers switch lanes depending which way a car is coming and whether they feel comfortable with a fast moving car coming up on their rear or front. They may repeat the same process when they see an oncoming car approaching. He may have moved left to avoid riding onto the bumpy off road in the dark and was waiting for the opportunity to move back over when he was hit.
@Pam – Ur right. My issue with policing is just that the distinction of friend and foe is too blurred. My ride along is numerous years in high crime neighborhoods in my rmp working my sector. Getting out or the rmp was easy and promoted interaction with the people in my sector. Seeing the community as friends first and established foe based on radio calls and actual crimes in progress. The public doesn’t see or have never experienced policing. That is why based on their experiences they comment. LEO’s should understand that and not establish a parameter of distrust and anger. Ironically this young man was advised of the danger but just like everyone in PC walking their dogs without proper reflectors at night, it’s dangerous. Maybe the outrage should be to the city to install streetlights or take actions outside of retribution to help the situation.
Kelvin was my student last year in Fort Lauderdale. I will truly miss him as he was a very intelligent young man. No matter the circumstances, no one deserve to be hit and be left to die without assistance from the culprit. Hit and runs are becoming the norm everywhere no matter the race. I pray his family find closure.
@ anonymous- Perfectly said!
I’ve seen plenty of white kids stopped by police for riding in the middle of the street. What is it with this race baiting ? Just a few months ago I saw police pull over a white kid who was riding his bike
This is absolutely disgusting to me! A child was killed and y’all are worried about an officer doing his job. THIS IS NOT A BLM ISSUE!! This is a dead child people. Yes the deputy was doing his job. IG anyone has paid attention lately, there have been several issues of break-in and vehicle burglary in the F section. I’m glad there are officers out here watching our neighborhoods. As for him stopping these kids, I’m glad he did that too. I don’t care if they are Black, White, Yellow or Purple I would expect a young adult or kid to be stopped and questioned if after dark in an area having issues, not just for the communities safety but for those kids safety as well. Maybe, just aybe if that officer would have followed those kids this kids parents wouldn’t be burying him. Before you throw the police under the bus, next time think about it. RIH YOUNG MAN, MAY YOUR SOUL FIND PEACE!!
The issue should not be about anything except that the one who hit Kelvin be caught and brought forth to face the no looming penalty for this young man’s death. Should not be focusing on what Kelvin might or might not have been doing, where he may or may not have riding, or what he was or was not thinking. Nor should everyone be focused on the officer who had a conversation with him just prior to this happening, except to say, that it is possible that stopping these two young men set up a timing situation for this barrelling idiot to run Kelvin down and leave him to die. A scenario the officer will most assuredly have to deal with for quite some time. Even if Kelvin was riding his bike in the lane or crossing from one lane to another, it in no way justifies a hit and run. Even if Kelvin was somehow “at fault” for his own death as someone else posted, the driver is now completely culpable because he/she ran. There is no excuse that can be given!!!!
Someone knows who you are! You have a family member that is covering for you, you have a neighbor, you have a friend, you have a co-worker, a boss. Somebody is helping you keep your secret. You are making them part of your crime. When you are caught, they will go down with you, too.
This young man was someone’s child, brother, cousin, nephew, grandchild. But, what he will NEVER get a chance to be is someone’s father. SHAMEFUL!!!
Old Lady says
Shame the deputies have nothing else to do but pull over young riders needlessly.
That road is so dark, the driver probably thought he/she hit a deer, there are lots of them in the area. That could be why they didn’t stop after the collision it could be just a big misunderstanding.
Danyale w says
If you love someone don’t take them for granted… I had no idea kelvin died and I wish I could tell him how sorry I am but it’s too late. Love the people who love you back unconditionally and don’t take them for granted you never know when thier last day on this earth may be. I miss you and I love you kelvin