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Palm Coast Sunday, Jul. 8, 2018 1 week ago

Deputy fired after failing to take action to prevent fatal crash

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Deputy Robert Finn was reassigned to the Communications Center during the internal investigation. He has 10 days to appeal his disciplinary termination. 
by: Ray Boone Sports Editor

A Flagler County Sheriff’s Office deputy was fired following an investigation that revealed that the deputy failed to take action to prevent a fatal crash that occurred on Interstate 95 on April 16, according to a news release by the FCSO.

Robert Finn, who has been employed by the FCSO since 2011, was responding to a medical call on Carlson Lane in Palm Coast at 2:04 a.m. on April 16. While responding to the medical call and exiting the I-95 at Palm Coast Parkway, a wrong-way driver traveling north on the southbound exit ramp forced Finn to swerve to avoid the collision. The deputy didn’t attempt to stop the errant driver and continued to the medical call — despite the fact that another deputy and medical units had arrived to the medical call.

FCSO Communications received a call of a head-on collision on I-95 at 2:13 a.m. Finn continued to respond to the medical call and arrived at 2:14 a.m. He left to go to the crash on I-95 at 2:17 a.m.

Finn was on scene at the crash for approximately 15 minutes when a witness told him that he saw a vehicle traveling the wrong way on the southbound exit ramp to Palm Coast Pkwy and passed “a cop,” who was traveling with his lights and sirens activated on the off ramp.

Finn told internal investigators that he had to swerve to avoid the vehicle, but he thought he saw the vehicle turn at the end of the ramp and correct its course of travel, so he did not initiate a traffic stop.

During the crash investigation, it was determined the vehicle driving the wrong-way on I-95 was the same vehicle that had passed Finn on the exit ramp just minutes before.

The crash on I-95 resulted in the death of Wendell Parker, the driver of the vehicle traveling in the wrong direction, and serious injuries to the driver of the vehicle that was struck head-on.

"While we will never know with certainty if Deputy R. Finn could have changed the sequence of events and prevented this crash by attempting to stop the vehicle, we do know that as a law enforcement officer, it was his duty to take immediate action and he failed to do so," Undersheriff Jack Bisland said in a release.

Finn was reassigned to the Communications Center during the internal investigation. He has 10 days to appeal his disciplinary termination. 

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