Drunk driver crashes into Palm Coast street sweeper, then is saved by deputy from car fire

A passenger also helped save Ari Waffle from the flames.

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  • | 3:00 p.m. November 3, 2020
Visit the FCSO's Facebook page for video of the crash.
Visit the FCSO's Facebook page for video of the crash.
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Flagler County Sheriff's Office Cmdr. Jason Neat and a witness pull a trapped and injured man, identified as Ari Waffle, of Palm Coast, from behind the steering wheel of a burning vehicle just before 1 a.m. Oct 31. Waffle, who was later arrested for driving under the influence, had crashed into a city street sweeper.

FCSO responded to the crash at 5243 Old Kings Road N., Palm Coast. A silver vehicle had heavy front end damage and was on fire. The vehicle had struck a city of Palm Coast street sweeper causing approximately $10,000 in damages.

“Commander Neat, the other deputies and the witness likely saved this man’s life,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Now he is sitting in the Green Roof Inn, hopefully contemplating his decision to drive impaired and putting himself, his passengers, and all of the other people traveling on our roads at risk. They are all lucky to be alive.”

Neat arrived on scene and saw a male and female attempting to pull the unresponsive driver, a Hispanic male, from the vehicle. The driver was trapped in the driver’s seat with the steering wheel pressing down on his legs and waist from the impact of the crash and the vehicle was on fire. Neat and the witness were eventually able to pull the driver from the burning vehicle. Deputy Gonzalez then used his agency fire extinguisher to attack the flames while waiting for Palm Coast Fire Department to arrive. Another passenger of the vehicle was also on scene with blood on his face and appeared disoriented from the crash.

Waffle, 28, asked deputies if he could return to his vehicle to retrieve his shoes. Deputies said no, because the vehicle was on fire. Waffle was unsteady on his feet and said he was intoxicated. He was taken into custody and charged with Driving Under the Influence with Property Damage or Personal Injury. He was booked into the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility where he is being held on a $2,500 bond.


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