A family of five from Melbourne suffered minor injuries Thursday when the sport utility vehicle in which they were riding struck three vehicles and rolled onto its roof at the intersection of State Road 87 and U.S. Highway 98.
Holley-Navarre Fire Chief Ron Norton said they might have been injured more seriously if they weren't wearing seat belts.
"The mother said she looked over her shoulder into the back when (the SUV) came to a stop and saw her children were OK, just hanging upside down," Norton said.
According to a report by the Florida Highway Patrol, Danny Hendricks, 34, the husband and father of the Melbourne family, was driving a 2002 Ford Expedition west in the inside lane of U.S. 98 at about 1 p.m. and failed to stop at the State Road 87 traffic signal. When the light changed green to signal motorists on SR 87 that they could turn east onto U.S. 98, Douglas Degeal, 44, of Wentzville, Mo., drove his 2007 Subaru passenger car into the intersection.
Hendricks tried to swerve around Degeal's Subaru, but the car struck the Expedition on its left side, rocking the SUV up onto its two driver's-side wheels. The Hendricks' vehicle continued forward and, still on two wheels, struck two vehicles stopped in the innermost left-hand turn lane for eastbound U.S. 98 traffic, a 1995 Isuzu SUV driven by 55-year-old Sheila Powell of Shalimar and a 2002 Toyota pickup driven by 48-year-old Terry Broxson of Navarre. Rebounding from that impact, the Expedition tipped onto its passenger-side wheels, overbalanced and rolled onto its roof.
All five of the Hendricks crawled out of the Expedition, Norton said, but Danny Hendricks passed out and, although he regained consciousness at the scene, still was treated as a trauma alert and immediately transported to Baptist Hospital in Pensacola. Christine Hendricks, 32, was placed on a backboard as a precaution. She and the Hendricks' three children, ages 3, 7 and 10, were transported to Gulf Breeze Hospital.
According to the FHP report, Christine Hendricks suffered minor injuries and none of the other drivers or passengers -- including Danny Hendricks -- were injured.
Alcohol was not a factor in the crash. Danny Hendricks has been charged with failing to obey a traffic signal.Westbound traffic was diverted around the accident scene for about an hour-and-a-half, Norton said