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Palm Coast Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017 1 year ago

Witnesses: Pickup driver who ran red light in fatal crash was involved in road rage incident moments prior

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The pickup truck driver argued with others at the scene of the crash while two victims were trapped in a damaged car, according to witness reports.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

While 55-year-old Palm Coast resident Terri Lynn Wickel and 17-year-old Matanzas student Margaret Ann Wickel were trapped inside a burning, crushed sedan on Palm Coast Parkway, the man who'd just run a red light in his pickup truck and struck their car was carrying on an argument with others on the side of the road.

Tyler Lane Wilkinson — the 25-year-old felon with a string of traffic citations who was driving the pickup — had been in a road rage incident with a motorcyclist on westbound Palm Coast Parkway moments before the crash Jan. 16. It continued after.

"They were close to physical ... pushing each other," a 911 dispatcher reported in dispatch notes. A 911 caller said a female at the scene was screaming, "You (profanity) killed him," and was pushing someone else. 

One 911 caller narrated what he saw to the dispatcher. "There's an accident, people are arguing ... I saw the whole thing happen; it started with a bike almost hitting the truck that almost cut off the bike ... the bike was mad, the guy in the bike puts his middle finger, the guy in the truck tries to run over the guy on bike. But they were going into each other that they ... was driving and they ended up crashing with that car."

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, only Wilkinson's Chevy Silverado actually struck Wickel's Ford Fusion.

Tyler Lane Wilkinson was incarcerated in state prison from April 2013 to December 2013 for selling marijuana.

As the 911 caller tried to check to see if anyone was hurt, a woman can be heard yelling and swearing in the background. The 911 caller tried to calm people down.

"Guys! Arguing is not going to help anything," the 911 caller said. A witness who said she was a nurse told the caller that someone in the car had no pulse. 

Other calls about the crash were coming in to the dispatch center.

The first 911 call about the crash came in at 6:49 p.m. Rescue personnel declared Terri and Margaret Wickel dead at 7 p.m.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers were dispatched at 7:07 p.m., arriving at 7:40 p.m. after Palm Coast Fire Rescue staff and Flagler County Sheriff's Office deputies. 

The motorcyclist did not wait for authorities to arrive.

Wilkinson was interviewed at the scene by FHP investigators, who ordered a blood draw on him. 

Wilkinson, a Palm Coast resident who'd attended Matanzas High School, had been charged in 2011 with selling marijuana, and pleaded no contest and was placed on drug offender probation. He was cited the same year for having illegal tinting on his windows. He was sent to state prison in 2013 after violating his drug offender probation. In 2014, he was cited for speeding and for having an open container of alcohol in his car. In 2015, he was cited for running a stop sign, and for not having his seatbelt on. 

Charges in connection with the Jan. 16 crash are pending against Wilkinson, according to the FHP report.

A GoFundMe campaign started by Jesse Flores, Terri Wickel’s son and Margaret Wickel’s brother, had raised $23,474 as of Jan. 19, exceeding its $10,000 goal to cover funeral expenses. To donate, go to bit.ly/2iIZkwh.

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