It all happened within a four-mile stretch of I-95 northbound in Palm Coast between 3 and 7 p.m.: four crashes involving a combined nine vehicles, none with serious injuries until the fourth crash, which claimed the life of a pick-up driver.
The fourth crash took place immediately north of the intersection with Palm Coast Parkway, killing Deborah Perfetto, 60, of Jacksonville.
A semi truck belonging to T. Williams Trucking of Raleigh, N.C., and driven by James Elvin, 52, of Maple Hill, N.C., had run out of fuel and stopped in the middle lane of the three-lane northbound segment. According to a witness who spoke with authorities, the driver, who had reportedly placed danger cones behind the semi, was not in the truck but was walking toward it when he saw a pick-up truck drive up the same lane, and apparently without slowing, slamming into the rear of the semi. A Florida Highway Patrol report confirmed the account.
The pick-up truck’s front end went underneath the semi and the cab of the pick-up, a white Toyota Tacoma registered in Florida, was demolished beyond recognition.
Palm Coast Fire Department firefighter-paramedics were engaged in an extraction before Perfetto was pronounced dead at the scene. The Florida Highway Patrol is conducting the traffic homicide investigation.
The string of crashes began at 3:08 p.m. with a crash that involved two vehicles, at mile marker 292. Injuries were minor. Just before 4 p.m., a tractor trailer jacknifed at mile marker 286, severely distorting the cab out of alignment. The driver was not injured. At 5:35 p.m., yet another crash took place at mile marker 286, involving four vehicles, but again without significant injuries.
The Palm Coast Fire Department, Flagler County Fire Rescue, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and the Palm Coast Fire Police responded to the crashes, which caused significant back-ups on I-95 down to State Road 100. The jacknife and fatality crash scenes were still active investigations at sundown.
The fatality was the seventh on Flagler roads this year.