Andrew Mintz, the 34-year-old Palm Coast man at the origin of a three-vehicle crash near a crowd of officials and others by the Flagler Beach pier on April 1, has been charged with aggravated fleeing and eluding police while causing injuries or property damage, a second-degree felony with a penalty of up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
New details in the case reveal that head-on crashes were nearly averted several times further north minutes before the crash as Mintz was speeding recklessly on A1A. (See: “Head-On Crash at Flagler Beach Pier Narrowly Misses Mayor, Her Child, Former Mayor and Commissioner.”)
Mintz was airlifted by Flagler County FireFlight, the emergency helicopter, from near the scene of the crash, to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach. He has not been arrested. The charges were filed by the Flagler Beach Police Department. The State Attorney’s Office has not filed an information–meaning that it hasn’t filed its own formal charge or charges.
His Daytona Beach Attorney, Aaron Delgado, has already filed several motions in the case, including a motion to dismiss, while Mintz himself signed a waiver of his right to be present at pre-trial hearings. Mintz did not return a call to his cell phone. Delgado said he could not comment on the case.
According to police and 911 notes at the time, Mintz had been speeding south on State Road A1A (or North Oceanshore Boulevard) from the Hammock, where he was first spotted by law enforcement driving on the wrong side of the road, before he crashed head-on with a pick-up truck at A1A and State Road 100 in front of the pier, causing damage to a third car. None of the occupants of the other vehicles were injured. A city commissioner, the mayor, a former mayor and the city’s parks director were within a few feet of the crash scene.
The Flagler Beach Police Department’s charging affidavit and 911 notes provide details of the crash that until now had not been disclosed.
“Spotted vehicle traveling southbound in northbound lane at an extremely high rate of speed,” a deputy reported to the 911 center around 9:35 the morning of April 1. “I was sitting stationary facing northbound. As soon as I saw the vehicle, I engaged my emergency lights and sirens in an attempt to stop the vehicle, but by the time I rounded the corner, the vehicle was gone. Emergency lights and sirens were shut down shortly thereafter. Flagler Beach observed the male enter their city.”
The Flagler Beach police officer reported in his charging affidavit that he heard the deputy’s description of a sedan driving “in a reckless manner southbound on A1A from Camino del Mar” at 9:35 a.m., “passing multiple vehicles on the double yellow line and nearly striking several cars head on.” The police officer had been traveling north near North 18th Street when hearing the deputy’s advisory. The officer relocated to A1A and saw Mintz’s Honda speeding south. The officer estimated Mintz’s speed at 90 mph in a 45.
The officer turned on lights and sirens. “The Honda willfully refused to stop for me,” the officer reported. “Instead it fled southbound, continuing to pass vehicles on the double-yellow and nearly causing multiple additional head on collisions. I followed the vehicle with lights and siren activated for approximately 30 seconds, before terminating the pursuit and deactivating my lights and siren pursuant to agency policy.”
Some 20 seconds later, another Flagler Beach police officer reported that Mintz passed him at North 9th, still driving recklessly toward the pier. Ten seconds later, the officer noted on the radio that a head-on crash had occurred.
“In the process of recklessly fleeing from law enforcement with wanton disregard for the safety of pedestrians in a busy downtown area, [Mintz] caused a significant amount of damage to the [two] vehicles he struck, as well as an FDOT sign he destroyed. Both victims’ vehicles were rendered inoperable and the sign will need to be replaced.” (FDOT is the Florida Department of Transportation.)
The officer did not interview Mintz nor arrest him “due to the severity” of his injuries, according to the charging affidavit. The Florida Highway Patrol conducted the crash investigation.
Flagler Beach Police Chief Matt Doughney said that since FHP handled the crash investigation, Flagler Beach did not have an update on Mintz’s condition or whereabouts. An FHP official was still gathering additional information on FlaglerLive’s request before the article initially appeared.
“Based on all reported accounts, this individual showed total disregard to a estimated 30-50 peoples’ lives that day between Hammock and Flagler Beach,” Flagler Beach Commissioner Eric Cooley said today. Cooley was among the officials, including Mayor Suzie Johnston, his companion, and former Mayor Linda Provencher, a few feet away from the crash when it occurred. Johnston was also with her daughter. “I find the fact that he (with his legal team) has already filed a motion to dismiss charges is appalling. This lack of accountability is a continued display of zero regard for anyone but himself. He should be cooperating and working proactively to fix all the damage he has done to his numerous victims.”
Court papers may give at least some indication of Mintz’s whereabouts: five days days before the crash, Mintz was the subject of a civil complaint filed in circuit court. The complaint indicates that Mintz took possession of a dwelling at 90 Florida Park Drive in Palm Coast a year ago, but was told on March 24 to vacate the premises–and allegedly did not do so.
On March 30–two days before the crash–Mintz filed his answer to the complaint, disputing it. The answer was filed from an address Mintz listed as 282 Keeler Woods Drive in Marietta, Ga. The document was not entered into the court docket until the afternoon of April 4. The cause for the disparity between when Mintz signed it and when it was entered into the court file is not clear.
Disclosure: Aaron Delgado is a member of the FlaglerLive Board of Directors. Other than the request for a comment, which he declined, Delgado was neither consulted nor was aware of the article before its publication.