St Augustine Police attempt to withhold public information in crash

This morning a female driver was west bound on Cathedral Place. During an attempt to make a right-hand turn onto Cordova Street, St Augustine Police spokesman Mark Samson tells Historic City News that “she had a seizure”.

The driver, who police refuse to identify, reportedly crossed over the on-coming lane, over the curb, striking the wall at Flagler College.

The impact knocked off a piece of the ornate wall, Samson said.

Police say the unnamed driver ended up striking another wall 15 feet away before coming to a stop.

“She was evaluated by Fire and Rescue and transported to Flagler Hospital with non-life threatening injuries,” said an e-mail that was distributed as a “press release”.

We contacted Jeannette M. Baker, a civilian records technician, as well as Mark Samson, who is reportedly the Public Information Officer; although he was observed in a police uniform later in the evening, apparently moonlighting as security for the St Augustine City Commission.

Baker replied to our request for basic information about the identity of the “female driver” reported to media earlier in the day, saying that “Unfortunately accident reports are not considered public record for 60 days.” We had not requested an accident (crash) report, which is a special legal document to which she was referring.

Instead, what we requested were the basic details required to report any crime or incident involving emergency public safety employees — we asked for the identity of the driver (name, age, city of residence), as well as the description of the vehicle she was driving (year and model), and whether or not the driver had been, or would be, cited for any infractions in the crash with injuries and property damage.

“Traffic was slowed during the investigation, but soon opened back to two full lanes of traffic,” Samson concluded.

There is probably a reason that the St Augustine Police Department is the only law enforcement agency in St Johns County that is not accredited.

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