Confusion in reporting death of Chelsea Wantz

A few more answers available to Historic City News today in the tragic death of 20-year-old Chelsea Marie Wantz of St Augustine; who was struck from behind in a car-vs-scooter crash at 3:25 AM Saturday morning.

At 5:12 AM Sunday morning, the Florida Highway Patrol reported that Wantz’s injuries were fatal and that she “expired 10/13/2012″. Historic City News and The St Augustine Record both reported the available information from the traffic homicide report, which proved to be incorrect.

The Record stuck by the FHP story; which caused a flurry of confusion and heart-wrenching emotion by scores of friends and relatives reading the published accounts on news websites and social media sites like facebook and twitter.

Historic City News contacted Shands Jacksonville Medical Center Sunday, and they informed us that the victim was in critical condition — but still alive. We corrected our article immediately. Again, at 10:20 a.m. Monday morning, we spoke with Articia Burrell, an Administrative Assistant whose office in Jacksonville manages all interactions with local, state and national media, for the hospital.

We were informed that Chelsea Wantz remained at the hospital and they re-confirmed her condition; saying that her vital signs were unstable and not within normal limits. The patient was unconscious and she was in critical condition. Her medical indicators were unfavorable.

Historic City News learned, from a televised interview with Chelsea’s sister, Kelli, and her mother, Vicki Guy, that what had not been reported was that Chelsea was an organ donor — life support efforts at the hospital Monday morning allowed Chelsea, in death, to help others who she never knew.

The 2002 Ford Taurus that struck Chelsea was being driven by 19-year-old Christopher R. Langford, who resides at 165 Calle Madrid in St Augustine. He has been in communication with the victim’s mother; however, Chelsea’s father was killed in 2006 while he was driving a motorcycle.

In the interview, Guy told reporters that Langford says he didn’t see Wantz’ tail lights as he approached her 2011 pink Bash scooter from behind. “He just hit her,” Guy said. “He did call 911.” Wantz’ sister says that its unfortunate. “I feel bad for him because he has to live with this for the rest of his life,” Kelli said. “He will remember this. We will all remember this. It just sucks. It’s going to hurt for a long time.”

The cause of the crash is still under investigation and FHP Homicide Investigator Pete Young says charges are pending the results of the toxicology report.

Photo credits: © 2012 Historic City News contributed photograph by Wantz family