Michael Kolendo, 74, was dead for possibly more than an hour Wednesday evening in Palm Coast’s F Section when someone on Farmsworth Drive noticed Kolendo’s white car as if parked in a swale, still running, with Kolendo at the wheel. He had veered off to the right and crashed into a mailbox. The car, a 2016 Ford C-Max hatchback, had some visible damage to the right passenger side.
The Florida Highway Patrol would later determine that Kolendo “appeared to have had a medical episode while driving.” He’d been going east on Farmsworth Drive. The crash took place at 80 Farmsworth. Kolendo’s house is half a dozen lots down the same street.
The vehicle had tinted windows and at first the person reporting the discovery of the vehicle at around 8:30 p.m. told a 911 dispatcher that the doors to the vehicle were locked and it was difficult to tell anything about the occupant. When paramedics arrived they broke the glass to one of the doors’ windows and gained access. Michael Kolendo was pronounced dead at 8:38 p.m.
The only other notable aspect of the incident was FHP’s discovery of a handgun, a Sig Sauer P365, with 11 live rounds and two magazines, in the car. The weapon, which belonged to Kolendo, was turned over to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office for safekeeping. Flagler County Fire Rescue and the Palm Coast Fire Department were among the responders. John’s Towing of Bunnell recovered the Ford.
Kolendo’s was the sixth road-related fatality on Palm Coast or Flagler County roads so far this year. Four of the fatalities were motorcycle related. Both fatalities involving four-wheeled vehicles were medically related. On June 15, George Serafino, 76, died in circumstances similar to Wednesday’s crash, after his car veered off State Road 100 and lightly struck a pole. Even though both deaths were the result of medical episodes, they remain categorized as traffic fatalities in state records. The fatality on Farmsworth Drive capped an unusually busy day of crashes in the city and the county, though none of those crashes proved serious to at least four patients taken to a local hospital.
The person sharing the road with your elder relative says
We need you to pick one user name and stick with it. ~FL
This needs to be said. The state should mandate a drivers test and medical OK for anyone over 65 every YEAR. This town has a plaguing epidemic of drivers that no longer have the capacity to drive safely, between, outright lack of situational awareness, poor physical coordination, bad eyesight, and overall ability to react quickly. Geriatric drivers are as dangerous or possibly even more so, than distracted or intoxicated drivers. Every day, EVERY. DAY. I see someone behind the wheel in this area that has absolutely no business being there. Check on your family members and if you have any doubt that they are at that point in their “retirement” that their use of the public roadway is potentially a detriment to the safety of themselves or others, DO SOMETHING. Please.
He was my neighbor for 8 years and recently sold his house after the passing of his wife. He still drove his motorcycle with no problems and other than some issues with his legs seemed to be healthy. He probably just had a heart attack which can happen to any of us at any time. Rest Easy Mr. Kolendo, I was sad to see you move and even sadder to hear this.
Mike was a great guy and good friend… RIP
Mary Fusco says
@ Person, I guess I could be considered the geriatric drivers that you are condemning in your post. Let me tell you, you would rather be driving around me than the 40 something cowboys who are reliving their teen years. I have been driving for over 45 years and have never had an accident nor received ticket. I know the rules of the road. This AM, I was out early to run errands, There was a car behind me on Belle Terre, switching lanes and waving his arms and acting like an idiot. I slowed down, let him get in front of me and low and behold he was going to the same place as me. All these antics to get in front of me to go to WM. My point is that I was not on a phone, I was not distracted and was able to see what was going on around me. Called defensive driving. I truly believe that most of the accidents that happen in PC are because people do not know who has the right of way and they don’t care. The rest are from speeding, distracted drivers. A medical issue can happen to anyone, any age. It has nothing to do with your driving ability.
To that person sharing the road with…. There are none other more aggressive drivers using their cars as a weapon that I see around like young drivers and they do it while texting! I saw this young mother in Palm Coast Parkway fast traffic over I-95 while displaying a back sticker “I am the mother of a terrific kid” she was at that speed with a cigarette in one hand and the phone in the other, so I guess, she was knee driving…were is the sticker that reads ” I am the kid of a terrorific driving mother”. Too bad I do not have yet a dash cam.
So please let go on the elderly, specially when a medical emergency took place. That can happen to anyone.
FLORIDA: People 80 and older must renew their license every six years, compared with every eight years for younger people. Also, people 80 and older must pass an eye exam with every renewal.
Helena Sousa says
The reality is, as we age our senses are not as sharp and our reflexes are diminished. Like anything else in life, common sense should be the rule! I see so many that can hardly get into their cars, driving recklessly. The county also, needs to run a campaign, educating people on what “ right turn on red” means. So many fail to stop!!
Lets talk about driving. I have had my license for over 40 years, no traffic violations, no accidents, none that I have caused anyway, and am capable of the rules of the road. I have been rear ended by 2 drunks, mid 40’s and 1 women, mid 20’s. I have seen young people driving that feel nothing can happen to them putting my life in danger. Its not the age you should be worried about its the mentally of the people behind the wheel. When I change lanes I use a blinker which is more than I can say for most “Under 65” drivers. Its called common sense and respect.
Nancy McClain says
I just met my new neighbor (Mike) day before .I was planning on visiting Thursday my day off. I am so saddened , he was friendly , intelligent, we were going to swap war stories. I am in shock. I give my condolences to his family and friends. I know he will be missed
You want to give special test to the safest drivers on the road. It’s only after a driver is over 80 years of age that the accident statistics show a noticeable increase in accidents and even then it covers a wider range than the other groups but still is lower than the 5 year span or 25 to 29 group.
Fortunately, Mr. Kolendo was able to pull off the road and only hit a mailbox instead of someone walking their dog or another vehicle. Accidents involving the elderly still don’t begin to compare to those who are speeding, distracted by their phones, etc.