A Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy was injured in a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of State Road A1A and 16th Road in the Hammock late this morning.
The deputy, Kyle Gaddie, was driving a brand new Dodge Charger, with less than 1,000 miles on it, when he pulled out of 16th Road in the way of a pick-up truck registered to a U.S. Army driver. That driver was not injured, but the pick-up sustained serious damage, and the Charger may be totaled.
Sheriff Rick Staly was on his way to the crash scene when he heard that Gaddie was being transported to AdventHealth Palm Coast, so he changed directions and met the injured deputy there. “He’s going to be sore, he has a bump on his head and some soreness in a leg but what could have been the outcome,” Staly said, referring to a much worse result avoided, we’re just very, very fortunate.”
‘We drive a lot of miles all our deputies do and once in a while these things happen,” the sheriff said. Deputies drive about 25,000 to 30,000 miles a year each, or around 5 million miles a year.
The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the crash. Based on what he’s been told, the sheriff said the deputy was attempting to pull out of 16th Road to go south on A1A. A tractor trailer was blocking his view. He thought he was clear, tried to make the turn, but drove in the way of the northbound pick-up truck, violating the pick-up truck’s right of way. “Whether he gets a citation that’s up to FHP,” Staly said, but Gaddie will have to go before an internal loss prevention board. “They’ll decide what type of discipline he will face, assuming the crash is his fault, which indications are it is. Fortunately he will learn from that,” as will other deputies and citizens, the sheriff said. “You never pull out until you learn 100 percent that it’s clear on all the lanes.”
Less than a day before, Sharlyn Johnson, 60, was killed in almost identical circumstances, but at night: she was pulling out of Eagle Rock Road to make a turn south on U.S. 1 and did not see an oncoming sedan.
Gaddie was driving one of 16 new Chargers the agency is rolling out, one of eight that are semi-marked–and nicknamed ghost cars, because of the barely perceptible markings on the sides. The agency is shifting from Ford Police Interceptors to Dodge Chargers and Durangos because Ford’s prices were becoming prohibitive. The Charger costs $24,000, but closer to $50,000 when fully equipped as a police car. That equipment is largely transferable. The insurance will pick up the cost of the damage, with a $1,000 deductible.
The ghost car was assigned as a reward to certain deputies who do a lot of self-initiated policing. Gaddie was disappointed and regretful over the crash.
“I told him that I’m glad he wasn’t seriously hurt, that equipment can be replaced, and I said you’re probably more upset about your new car,” Staly said, when asked to describe his encounter with the deputy at the hospital. “He said I love that car, and he was apologetic. These things happen in our line of work, I’m just glad you’re not hurt, and we made sure his girlfriend was notified so she could come see him at the hospital.” Staly added: “He’s disappointed, I get that, I’ve been in this business a long time, I’ve had a few wrecks myself. These things happen when you drive so many miles, talk on the radio, have the sirens going.” Deputies, he said, do a lot of high-risk driving.
It was the sheriff’s second trip to the hospital in 11 days to check on a deputy. Earlier this month a sheriff’s deputy and a Bunnell police officer fell ill after coming in contact with an unknown substance on a suspect they were arresting. The suspect also fell ill (and briefly passed out). All three recovered.
“That’s part of my job,” Staly said. “I ask these men and women to risk their lives for me, when they get injured I’m going to see them at the hospital. It’s not the fun part of the job but it’s important. I’m just thankful we’re not burying a deputy. We’ve had a couple of close calls. I’ve been very fortunate as a sheriff. That’s the worst call you get as a sheriff,” when the outcome is a serious injury, or worse.
The crash took place at 10:30 a.m. Traffic was regulated by the Palm Coast Fire Police. The vehicles were towed by John’s Towing of Bunnell.
Concerned Citizen says
I am glad the Deputy will recover and there were not more serious injuries.
Having spent my entire adult life in Public Safety, First Law Enforcement then Fire Rescue I will say this.
I drive our roads daily for work. I have an area of responsability that stretches from Saint Augustine to Daytona. On multiple occasions I have seen Law Enforcement FHP included driving irresponsibly. This includes cutting us off, making simple turns with no signals and last minute lane changes to get all the way over. And I won’t count the times I have seen someone completley run a stop sign. All violations they are quick to pull us over for and issue a citation.
In my opinion and it’s just that if you are a sworn officer or a FF/Paramedic you have the unique privilege of protecting and serving the public. You are also held to higher standards. You should realize that all are watching your every move and set examples. Not try to be the exception.
I understand that some infractions are exceptions when answering calls. But is it really that difficult to use a turn signal when making a turn? Or coming to a complete stop when you’re supposed to?
Oh, I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. Deputy admittedly 100% at fault. Glad no one seriously injured. What makes me laugh is the support the deputy gets because he drives so many hours a year. If it were Joe Blow he’d be cited for driving while being distracted by, maybe too many obstacles. I also took note of how much of this article spotlighted the deputy and maybe a sentence or two on the pick-up he plowed into. I know our first responders do a lot for us all, but this reporting was a little slanted.
Frank Clair says
I was a first response firefighter/emergency medical technician for 25 years. Emergency driving is probably the most dangerous but being on the road most of the time puts us all at risk. I agree that we must be held to a higher standard and set a good example. I’m happy no one was seriously hurt in this accident.
F150s always win in collisions.
Grey overcast day. Grey truck against a grey asphalt backdrop. Yep. Can happen to anyone.
Glad these men can walk away.
Who knows maybe the Ford pick up was tailgating. It’s easy to get lost in the fatter pillars of these safer new cars. That’s a matter of the angle & speed, even larger trucks & buses can disappear or never be seen. Follow a semi too closely and a Ford disappears. It’s why they have the signs on their trucks, if you can’t see them in the mirror, they can’t see you & the “stay back *** feet” signs.
Not trying to give anyone an excuse, but those signs are on those trucks for a reason & for exactly this situation, to prevent these types of accidents.
I can picture his view was obstructed by the semi truck in front of the F150. That had happened to me once…and I avoided the collision. I was stop at the sign…and then proceeded not seeing the small car too close to the curve behind the semi…just an imperfect human error.
Our deputies are in the road 24-7 and human imperfection may give in occasionally. By the way we need more traffic enforcement in Florida Park Drive, Old Kings Road and Club House Drive in Palm Coast and I heard from other residents in other streets west of I 95 as well, like Belle Terre, Royal Palms and Seminole Woods Pkwy. We need those speeders and stop and red violators including construction and other semi’s drivers hefty fined as may be unfortunately only language they understand for violating the posted traffic signs or lights.
CB from PC says
I am glad the Deputy will recover.
I wonder about the owner of the pickup truck who, while uninjured, will have to deal with insurance re-imbursement and all the hassles of loss of his vehicle.
A “we’re sorry” from some “official” would have been a decent gesture.
The real meat of this is that of anyone, the Deputy should have not pulled out without a clear view.
TG some motorcyclist was not in the path.
What is with the carelessness?
In this case it will likely cost the County more than replacing a new $50,000 Charger.
PC Lifer says
Deja Vu… I seem to remember another officer, driving a Dodge, in the Hammock, inadvertently pull in front of someone, driving a truck, a while back. Uncanny coincidence. Hope everyone involved is alright.
“Probably more worried about you new car” how gross to think even the sheriff knows this deputy would care more about his new car than the person he hit.
Please hire responsible safe deputies to keep us safe and not drive reckless.
Protect and Serve? Or
Forget and Swerve?
Glad he is ok. I was in the back of a patrol car and witnessed the officer driving 60 on US-1 typing things on his laptop on the passenger side. I was scared. And we are not even allowed to text or check our phones sitting in traffic at a stoplight. Hypocrisy. Working the patrolmen to long and hard.
Greg Driscoll says
Seems the Flagler county sheriff’s office should have remedial driving classes for the deputies. Quite a few auto accidents here lately. The deputy said her couldn’t see but thought he was clear to proceed. That’s a ticket by for anyone else.
They’ve had a couple of accidents at the intersection of 100 east and US1, which were the deputies fault. One injured a man quite badly when deputy Gay ran a light playing on her phone a couple of years back.
Seems tax payer money is just being shoveled out with no regard for public safety.
I’ll bet this deputy is back on the road in a day or so and that the office will challenge the other drivers insurance claim, running up the tax dollars. Put this guy behind a desk. Obviously, he is a danger on the road if he doesn’t know that if you can not see YOU DO NOT PROCEED UNTIL YOU KNOW IT’S SAFE TO DO SO.
Remember, these half ass drivers have weapons. Imagine the next mess he may cause.
Dont park a semi on the side of the road near an intersection so you can see and nearly have to pull into traffic in order to see…
A1A resident says
There is a turning lane and a small acceleration/merging lane at that intersection. You don’t have to pull into oncoming traffic at all.
So even if there is a vehicle on the side of the road, blocking some of the view, if you pull out a little further you’re still not in the oncoming traffics way, and you can determine whether it is safe to proceed or not. I say a citation should be given, if it was anyone else, it would be at-fault no questions asked.
Our sheriff have any concerns over the person that was driving correctly?????????
Just another day on A1A in the Hammock. There needs to be a few traffic lights at a few of these intersections in the Hammock. So many wrecks at 16th., and after the exit from the tool bridge onto A1A. Glad these guys were ok.
A1A resident says
There does not need to be any lights on A1A. Sometimes a little patience goes a long way.
I think this was the sweet officer who calmed me down after I hit a deer on A1A… so happy to hear he is not in a serious condition. Accidents can happen in a flash, to anyone. ✌🏼
Mark Thomson says
I am glad the deputy is ok after the crash. I was Law Enforcement in the past and aware driving many times can be a challenge at best. We have a great force protecting and serving our community. God Bless all those whom serve.
Oh everyone is worried about his new car?
BOO-HOO, that’s what happens when you drive like an FCSO public servant – irresponsibly, extremely careless, thinking you have some sort of diplomatic immunity over the rest of the drivers in town.
Like my fellow Concerned Citizen said: officers’ every moves are watched. Nearly all set a terribly hypocritical example for the community. You are not exceptional!! FUNCTION with the people you SWEAR to SERVE!!
Mary Fusco says
Local, I don’t know if this police officer was in the right or the wrong. However, if all the do gooders on this site were driving correctly we probably wouldn’t have nearly as many accidents in PC as we do. Let’s address the citizens who pass on double yellow lines, speed on residential streets and anywhere else, go through red lights and stop signs. Then there are the aggressive stupid drivers who drive up your arse thinking that you will be intimidated and go faster, the idiot drivers on US 1 that pull out of side roads right in front of you even though there are no cars behind you. The drivers that cut you off only to be one car ahead of you at the next light. I could go on and on.
Red lights, stop signs, yellow lines, and speed limits are mostly just suggestions or guidelines if you will, it is only the law if there is a police around , otherwise drive at your own risk.
Hammock Resident says
It is very difficult to see when turning south on A1A from 16th road. The trees block the view and the road curves. And today there was extra traffic due to the A1A garage sale. It could have happened to anyone. I have interacted with Deputy Gaddie and think highly of him. Wishing him a speedy recovery. Thankfully the other driver was not injured.
Ken Cain says
Maybe 24 months of foot patrol at Town Center would begin an appropriate punishment.
Pay just a little more attention before entering a 50mph A1A Highway with a brand new $5o,000. Dodge Charger Patrol Car. Someone could have been seriously hurt or killed by this knuckleheads recklessness.
More money the taxpayers will have to shell out for the car and the impending lawsuit !!!!!!!!
That poor Charger–struck down in its infancy. Maybe its parts will give another
Charger the gift of life. –sniff
Just what we need here, more traffic in the Hammock. NOT. Stop the overdevelopment of this pristine area or more crap like this will happen more frequently. Most of the people who live here are not from here and they think they’re still in whatever big city they came from. Go back and leave us locals alone!!!
Is he going to frane the careless driving ticket he got ?????