At about 5:09 p.m. this evening, Historic City News was informed by Florida Highway Patrol Master Sergeant Dylan L. Bryan, that a motor vehicle crash, involving a sheriff’s patrol car vs two motorcyclists, occurred at SR-16 at Harvest Lane in St Augustine.
According to the crash report provided by the Office of Public Affairs for Troop G, a 28-year-old St Johns County deputy, Brandon G Hetzler II, who has been on the job less than one year and whose address was given as New Smyrna Beach, was attempting to make a U-Turn on SR-16 westbound.
Two local residents were operating Harley Davidson motorcycles headed eastbound on SR-16, approaching head-on the stopped patrol car, a 2014 Ford Taurus. Hetzler attempted his turn, striking the two motorcycles with the front passenger side of the patrol car. Both drivers were ejected onto the roadway causing serious and critical injuries.
St Johns County Rescue responded to the scene while Hetzler and additional deputies assisted the injured bikers. Emergency medical personnel stabilized the patients for transportation, requesting air ambulance services for 51-year-old Julia Perez of St. Augustine Beach.
- Perez was operating a 2019 HD and suffered critical injuries after being thrown from her bike. Her family was notified of her post-crash condition. She was flown to UF Health Jacksonville for emergency medical treatment. Trooper M. Ford reported that Perez had been wearing her helmet.
- The second bike, a 2018 HD, was operated by 59-year-old Thomas John Eiland, also of St. Augustine Beach. Eiland was determined to be in serious condition. He was transported to Flagler Health by ground ambulance. Trooper M. Ford reported that Eiland had also been wearing his helmet.
Tests to determine if alcohol was involved in any of the three subjects, as well as whether any traffic charges will be filed, are pending the results of the full investigation, which is ongoing.