Jirawadee Marie Battenhouse, a 19-year-old resident of Palm Coast’s C Section, died early Saturday morning (May 27) as a result of her injuries, hours after a two-vehicle crash on I-95 near Palm Coast Parkway.
A 2016 graduate of Matanzas High School with artistic sensibilities–she had been a gymnast, had performed with the Flagler Youth Orchestra and had a keen eye for photography–she had been part of the team of students at Matanzas who produced an acclaimed public service announcement video on the dangers of texting and driving.
Battenhouse was driving a 1998 Lexus south on I-95, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report, when for reasons that have not been determined, she swerved left onto the emergency lane. “The left rear side of the
Lexus struck the guardrail face,” the FHP report states. “The Lexus continued southbound in the emergency lane before the front left side of the Lexus struck the guardrail face again.”
At that point the Lexus re-entered the southbound lanes but came to a stop in the center lane, facing southeast.
Stephanie Finnell, a 45-year-old Lake City resident, was at the wheel of a 2015 Acura and was also driving south on I-95. Finnell “failed to see the Lexus stopped within the center travel lane,” the FHP investigation found, “causing the front of the Acura to strike the rear of the Lexus.”
Battenhouse’s Lexus was knocked into a counterclockwise spin and the car’s rear again struck the guardrail, coming to a final stop facing northwest, from within the inside emergency lane. Finnell brought her Acura to a controlled stop within the outside emergency lane of the highway.
Battenhouse was airlifted to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach. She was pronounced dead at 6:57 a.m. Saturday, an FHP investigator confirmed this morning. Finnell was transported to Halifax by ambulance. Her injuries were listed as “minor” on the FHP report.
Battenhouse was the daughter of Sue Soinak and Jerry Battenhouse. Jerry Battenhouse died in August 2015.
Though Marie, as she was known among her friends, had graduated a year ago–she would have been 20 on Nov. 18–it was yet one more loss for Matanzas High School on the heels of two students’ deaths from traffic crashes this year: Kelvin Smith, 16, was killed in a hit and run as he was bicycling on Old Kings Road on New Year’s Eve. The driver of the vehicle that killed him has not been located. And Michelle Taylor, 16, was killed by a passing car as Taylor was walking with a friend along Lakeview Parkway in northern Palm Coast on March 3.
The crash took place 20 minutes after midnight Saturday at mile marker 288, about a mile south of Palm Coast Parkway. The Palm Coast Fire Department and Fire Police and Flagler County Fire Rescue, along with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, responded. FHP is conducting the investigation. The vehicles were removed by Saxon’s towing in Bunnell.
Saturday’s crash was the 14th involving one or more fatalities on Flagler County roads, totaling 20 fatalities, just five months into the year. The tally includes five deaths in a single crash, in February, on U.S. 1 near the White Eagle Lounge. In all of last year, the county recorded 25 road fatalities, and 12 the year before. The highest number of road fatalities in a single year in Flagler was 31, in 2008. In comparison so far this year. St. Johns County has seen 16 crashes involving fatalities, for a total of 18 deaths, and Putnam has seen 10 such crashes, totaling 10 fatalities.
Ben Dover says
That poor mother , will pray for her
rest easy j, everyone at panera misses you
Prayers for her family and friends. Life is precious, be safe.
Kathy A says
Offering prayers to her mother and the rest of her friends and family. RIP, dear angel.
My sincere sympathies go out to her loved ones, especially her mother. A promising young life, taken too young but it sounds like she managed to make a positive impact on the world while she graced us with her presence.. May her memory be blessing.
I can’t even begin to image how horrific it must be lose a child. My thoughts go out to Maria and family.
God Bless and Rest In Peace. Sweet Angel.
Your family is in our prayers.
Rip. So sad… People can’t drive in that county. Not saying this girl can’t drive but the majority of people can’t.
Office Divvy says
Shocked and saddened with news about Jirawadee — a true gem among the youth in Palm Coast and Flagler County, a multi-talented, creative young person who had great promise. Our team and our then interns whom she’s crossed paths with will always remember her. R.I.P beautiful angel!
Benjamin Bartlett says
My heartfelt sympathies go out to Marie’s family and friends.
Every so often you come across a story that gives you pause,
and this is one of them.
May she rest in peace.
Prayers for the family… RIP.
Donations to help the family cover funeral expenses can given here:
May she RIP and prayers to all family and friends.
Flagler Citizen says
Without a doubt I remember this young lady from Panera. Not too long ago I was assisting a “recent” elderly widow after her husbands death and we ended up at Panera and this young lady courteously and professionally handled the elderly widows order without even flinching, sighing rolling an eye, nothing even though she was being barked at and treated extremely rude by the widow customer. After I seated the widow I went back and apologized for her behavior and Miss Battenhouse said it was no problem at all. Myself and wife felt so bad we reached in our pockets attempting to tip her and she profusely declined to accept. Her happy, cheery attitude was something you don’t usually see anymore in those types of situations but reading about her life from here and scattered internet links I see why.
So sad. Prayers to her mother and family. She was a wonderful young lady🙏
May she Rest In Peace. What a wonder young lady. Prayers to her mother and Family. 🙏She had such a bright future Why does this happen WHY🤦♂️
may the mom family and friends be blessed another reminder we are not promised tommorow so Love GOD and OTHERS daily
Howie Ogden says
Sue & Jerry were dear friends of ours in Thailand. I remember when Marie was born and was the light of Captain Jerry’s life. I did not know Marie as an adult but assume that she was all and more than what is spoken about here. Dear Sue, we are here if you need us. Love Howie & Meena.