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Palm Coast Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016 3 years ago

Flagler County car crash at I-95 ramp ends with submerged vehicle; driver rescued from water, in critical condition

The driver is being charged with careless driving.

Bystanders and deputies from the Flagler County Sheriff's Office helped remove the driver of a submerged vehicle from the retention pond at State Road 100 and Interstate 95 in Palm Coast on the morning of Jan. 2, according to a report from the Florida Highway Patrol.

The report states that 53-year-old James Austin, of Ormond Beach, was driving a 2007 Honda Accord north on I-95 at 10:05 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 2. Meanwhile, 40-year-old Seamus O'Conner, of Blackwood, New Jersey, had exited I-95 north and was on the exit ramp to State Road 100. 

Austin veered across all the northbound lanes of I-95 and traveled through the grass area between the interstate and exit ramp. Austin then entered the exit ramp. The front of his Honda Accord then collided with the rear of O'Conner's vehicle, a 2015 Chevy Sonic, on the I-95 northbound exit ramp to State Road 100.

As a result of the impact with Austin's Accord, O'Conner's Sonic rotated counter clockwise and entered the grass area west of the exit ramp. In the grass area, the front of O'Conner's Sonic collided with a metal guardrail and came to final rest in the grass area facing south.

After colliding with the Sonic, Austin's Accord collided with the I-95 northbound overpass wall and continued northbound. Austin then entered the retention pond east of the I95 exit ramp, where the Accord came to final rest, and was ultimately fully submerged.

Austin was removed from the vehicle by bystanders and deputies from the Flagler County Sheriff's Office. The I-95 northbound exit ramp was closed for approximately two hours. Traffic assistance was provide by the Flagler County Fire Rescue Fire Police.

According to the report, Austin's injuries were classified as "critical," and he was transported to Halifax Medical Center in Ormond Beach. He was wearing a seatbelt, and next of kin was notified. Alcohol was not a factor in the crash. The report lists the following as charges against Austin: careless driving, and failure to carry/exhibit driver's license upon demand.

Seamus O'Conner was not injured.

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