The person calling Flagler County’s 911 center at 6:26 this morning was frantic. “Whoever called in was crying and hard to understand, and that they hit somebody,” a Flagler County Sheriff’s spokesperson said.
The caller reported that he “hit someone in the middle of the highway,” suggesting that the victim had been intentionally standing in the road. (In 2014, a 32-year-old man killed himself by lying down in the middle of I-95 four miles north of the location of today’s incident.)
The Florida Highway Patrol had not identified the victim by mid-morning Friday.
The crash took place just before dawn, on a straight but dark stretch of I-95, about a mile south of the intersection with State Road 100. Luigi Tucci, 75, and Lucia Tucci, 73, of Staten Island, N.Y., were driving a Mercedes sedan, northbound on I-95 (Luigi was at the wheel), when the car struck the person. The right side of the car took the impact, which shattered the windshield and crumpled the passenger side of the hood.
The Tuccis were not hurt, they told the 911 dispatcher. The car stopped in the left-side emergency lane, facing northwest, against the guardrail. The victim was thrown a few feet in front of the vehicle, and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Palm Coast Fire Department and Flagler County Fire Rescue responded and left the scene after the victim was pronounced. The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office was at the scene before the arrival of the Florida Highway Patrol, which is conducting the traffic homicide investigation. The Palm Coast Fire Police closed all northbound traffic on I-95 at Old Dixie Highway, reopening one lane at 8:52, then all lanes at 9:32.
The medical examiner was at the scene at 8 a.m., and removed the body to the examiner’s clinic in St. Augustine for an autopsy.
The Tuccis remained at the scene, Luigi appearing shattered and inconsolable an hour and a half after the crash as Lucia or a trooper spoke with him.
The crash resulted in the 10th fatality on Flagler County roads so far this year, which compares to 12 fatalities for all of 2019. The last fatal crash took place at almost the identical time on U.S. 1 on April 1, at County Road 200.
Can’t imagine what the victims in the car felt like after this. They have to live this suicide forward.
How incredibly sad that someone who chooses to take their own life would involve innocent people in their decision. This poor couple will probably never be the same!
Horrible for all involved!
Name (required) says
Welcome, and thanks for visiting Flagler county! One of our local selfish, unstable fruitcakes will be Right with you… Seriously how traumatizing. Just stand in the highway and horrify 2 innocent travelers? This whole place needs help. Fact. I hope that the passengers of that vehicle can move forward with hope and positivity in their lives, somehow. Exponential tragedy.
I would STRONGLY suggest that both occupants of the car that struck and killed this suicidal person receive consulting quickly. They will be far better off afterwards and will hopefully continue their lives without remorse.
Concerned Citizen says
What a horrible thing for all involved.
But hey let’s be insensitive and get that picture of an innocent person involved in a tragic accident grieving because they took a life. After all sensation promotes views right?
I normally agree with most things you write. But you caught an incredibly private and traumatic moment for a senior and plastered it on your paper. I’d be pretty pissed if I was a family member and that was a grandparent or parent.
Jane Gentile-Youd says
I hemmed and hawed about sharing my husbands identical experience in 2010 while driving home at night after work at Kennedy Space Center – taking his usual shortcut through Edgewater. He called me hysterical asking me to come- told me a lady walked in front of his car as he was driving 60mph. She was pronounced dead at the scene. I traced her relatives after getting the police report – my husband Mark was almost comatose for weeks. The police report showed that 2 other people earlier had called in saying they just missed hitting a lady standing in the road – it was still daylight….. Her husband made an insurance claim against my husband insurance the very next day… After much thought I got brave and contacted the deceased woman’s sister to offer my husband’s extreme guilt and sleepless nights.
A miracle occurred. Two sisters came to our home to console my husband and told us the sad history of their sister whose husband had taken away her bi-polar medication; she took off in his car and stopped on I-95 but not one officer took her ( Teresa) in. She began wondering the streets ( 3 police reports); again no one picked her up) then it was dark and the rest is history. .My husband never saw her until it was too late.
We have been in contact with and have visited her sisters and vice versa for almost 10 years now whom have both have given their love to Mark ; they continue to tell him it was not his fault; they shared their sister’s sad life and even sadder marriage.
We just saw them last month – they live in Jacksonville -we were there when Cathy’ s grandson was born and we now consider them family. I sometimes wonder if Mark would have ever been able to emotionally heal without these wonderful sisters.
My heart goes out to the Tuccis and maybe they too can communicate with the sad person’s family to help them heal as Mark has been able to do. It can be the most awful experience to have to live with.
Alan Lefstead says
Very sad for all involved. Sad that a person would chose to end their life this way and tragic that it has involved two innocent people. Hopefully this couple will be able to eventually realize that there was nothing that they could have done to prevent this. If it wasn’t them it would have been someone else. That may not be the most comforting rationale but most likely after this investigation is complete it will most likely prove to be the truth.