April 21 update—The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on Thursday (April 20) that Mark Anthony Smith, the Palm Coast resident rescued from his submerged car on April 16, died subsequent to his injuries.
Rescuers Pull Mark Anthony Smith, 40, Out of Submerged Car at I-95-Palm Coast Parkway Exit
April 17–The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office got emergency calls around 6:50 p.m.: vehicle in the water. Not for the first time, a car had veered off an exit ramp at I095 and Palm Coast Parkway flipped upside down into the retention pond.
Mark Anthony Smith, a 40-year-old resident of Sedgwick Trail in Palm Coast, was the only occupant, though rescuers did not know that at first: there was a child seat in the back. Callers to 911 reported seeing the car flip into the water–and seeing no one come out.
It soon became clear that Smith, the driver, was entrapped.
Eight minutes later, with Flagler County Fire Rescue personnel, sheriff’s deputies and civilians in the water, Smith was brought out, unconscious. A body camera shows one of the rescuers immediately starting CPR as Smith was brought to dry ground.
Searchers continued frantically looking for other victims, since they had no way immediately to know if Smith was alone, and his driver’s license did not have an emergency contact.
“Thanks to everyone’s quick action and bravery, the driver was able to be located quickly and life saving measures were immediately given,” said Sheriff Rick Staly. “We pray the driver makes a full recovery. Thank you to the citizens who also jumped in to help.”
While Flagler County FireFlight, the emergency helicopter, was placed on standby for a brief time, Smith was transported to AdventHealth Palm Coast. It isn’t clear if he was later transferred to another hospital.
The interchange has been the scene of several dramatic crashes into retention ponds: in August 2017 a 28-year-old man ended up in critical condition when his car flipped into the pond off the southbound off ramp. The man’s brother was in the car and had minor injuries. Three years earlier a 53-year-old man lost his life when his car veered off the northbound exit lane onto Palm Coast Parkway, driving his car into the pond. There are no guard rails along the ramps.
time for guard rail even though they may not be attractive.. they will help prevent these mishaps
NO, People need to slow down and pay attention.
watch ya mouth when it come to my family b.tch u need to slow down
You seem pleasant.
Look, I have traveled literally all around the world and some of the worst driving I have ever seen has been in Florida. I’m not the one who plowed through trees and bushes and ended up in a retention pond so it would appear that I’m not the one who needs to slow down. While I’m extremely sympathetic to the horrible situation and loss of life, we can’t “childproof” everything. People need to slow down and pay attention.
How could you be so heartless whether he was speeding or not guardrails could’ve saved his life and others!! R.I.P. Mark you definitely didn’t deserve this damn what this lady is saying
Timara F. says
This comment is so evil. That man lost his life, his wife lost her husband, his kids lost their father. Before you comment negative things, think what if it was YOUR family. Have some respect, too old for that. Good day.
YES, people need to pay attention, and YES, guard rails are clearly needed.
Mark doesn’t drive fast. I hope one day you or anyone you love aren’t in this devastating situation but I’ll be sure to say “sHe ShOuLd HaVe SlOwEd DoWn”
Who is to say he didn’t have a medical issues. People need to get the facts and not just assume.
From Google Maps street view, he went between trees spaced far enough apart. seems to be enough grassy area between the road & trees. Going too fast, not paying attention at the very least.Why he veered off the road is the mystery solving piece to the puzzle. Was traffic backed up & he had to drive off the road to avoid a rear end collision ? Was it a medical issue and he passed out for some reason ? Alcohol or drugs, sleep deprivation ?
He had a seizure he’s my dad
I am so sorry for your loss and my prayers go out to you and your family. I was going to comment that maybe he had a medical issue, but no need to now. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.
I’m sorry you had to share that with people that cannot just express condolences and support you and your family during this difficult and traumatic time. I am so sorry for your loss.
Jayden, I am so sorry for the tragic death of your dad. I would guess he is very proud of his amazing son. ❤️
I saw the submerged car right after the driver was rescued. How lucky we are to have police officers, firemen and bystanders willing to help. Best wishes to the driver.
I guess common sense is relative. But I think it’s time for guard rails.
Land of no turn signals says says
If this wasn’t a medical episode somebody is going have to explain this one to me.
Karen Knoblich says
Show some respect. He is a deeply loved family member of mine and he passed away yesterday morning.
Great work by all the people who rescued Smith. But why are people driving into the retention pond? I wonder if speed is the reason. I-95 is marked as 70mph but people do 80mph or better all the time.
Safety Matters says
Smh… I am not to judge anyone… But when things like these happen, sometimes speed is a factor due to loosing control of the vehicle. However, there should be guard rails along ramps. Sometimes the elderly cannot see well, especially at nightime or who knows … A sudden medical condition may impair a driver and loose control of its vehicle thus flipping into a pond/canal. If there were guard rails, there may be some protection.
Guard rails won’t help all the time if it’s due to a medical issue, I’ve seen it.
Safety matter says
A medical issue like you just said, may not or may not help, but other issue may. Not all circumstances are the same. Nor is the speed impact of hitting a guardrail. Itay somehow stop the vehicle or slow it.
Deborah Coffey says
It’s hard to believe that all those lives are not worth a guard rail? I hope this man will be okay.
Celia Pugliese says
Lets ask DOT to install guard rails in these retention ponds…to fend off speeders and safeguard their lives or their innocent passengers lives. Furthermore our sheriff needs to post surveillance traffic units around the area of Palm Coast Parkway and Florida Park Drive, Old Kings Road and Clubhouse Drive as often like last night around 10.45 to past 11 PM speeders were heard racing and raving their no silenced (free) exhaust pipes and waking me up like ten times…no so much the noise bother but the fear to hear them crash into some innocent wildlife, domestic pet escaped or other drivers. We need some traffic unit in that area of PC Pkwy from Cypress Point before and after the overpass on I-95 all the way to Hammock Bridge also at wee hours of the night, as this area sounds like the Daytona 500 Speedway Friday, Sat, Sunday and some weekdays like last night Monday. Testosterone rage should not be allowed at the steering wheel or handle.
That just happened to me &hubby coming of 95 light turned green so traffic started going old man infront suddenly stop for pan handler always on corner we had to fast jump over towards that pond thought we were going there myself Lord scary take those panhandle s off the corners
Bad Tailgating and gators there! says
I Am often shocked when getting off that long ramp how people continue their 80MPH highway speed like all the way to the light! Aggressive drivers about to become a rear hood ornament on the back of my car, people should be off the gas on the ramp coasting to the light. on the other ramp last month I developed radiator hose leak coming home from Jax and had to stop on the ramp at Matanzas to fill my little water bottle I had several times with retention pond water and a 4 foot baby gator I didnt see just under surface in the weeds rolled and thrashed his tail and scared the daylights out of me, my flip flops are still buried in the mud jumping back from the waters edge so quick almost had a heart attack.
Land of no turn signals says says
Forget the guard rails start removing licences.
Mr bob says
I see this a lot when a car goes into a lake ,pond body of water . Police, fire ,ems, citizens all want to jump in and help. That is a a good thing. But if you do these police etc.. should put on protective nose plugs to keep that water from.enterumg into the nasal canal. Read the following: Naegleria fowleri infects people when water containing the (ameba )enters the body through the nose. Infection is rare and typically happens when people go swimming, diving, or put their heads under water in warm freshwater places, like lakes and rivers. Very rarely, infections have been reported when people cleanse their noses during religious practices or rinse their sinuses (nose) using contaminated tap water. Naegleria fowleri can grow in pipes, hot water heaters, and water systems, including treated public drinking water systems
People need to slow down – there’s no need to drive that fast on an exit ramp and guard rails aren’t going to stop a collision from stupidity.
As if you know what happened in this incident. Guard rails might not prevent collisions but they can reduce the risk of drowning. This man lost his life. What’s stupid is to argue against guard rails at this point.
Sheriff, maybe recognize officers from other jurisdictions who were first on the scene and jumped into the water.
An argument can be made on both sides. judgement isn’t needed here. My neice lost her husband. Show some compassion as well as respect.
How many lost lives does it take in order to get a guard rail, a traffic light, a speed bump. The list goes on.
I am so so sorry. This is devastating. Praying for you, his wife, and children.
Fernando Melendez says
Our prayers go out to his family and friends. God Bless him.
Jennifer Maida says
Rest in Peace Mark, you were a wonderful man and you didn’t deserve this to happen to you.
Well, since it’s Florida, we can now just shoot people that we think are driving too fast. As long as they are “making you fearful” just fire away! Easy solution.
Cynthia Sweeney says
To the Smith Family – I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Mark. I am a Brooklyn NY cousin of his and I was devastated to get this news. My sincere condolences to his mother, wife, children, siblings, and the remaining friends and family. This is just heartbreaking.