ORMOND-BY-THE-SEA, Fla. -- A sports utility vehicle driven by an 82-year-old man ripped through a wooden barrier separating a parking lot from the beach and hit four children in the sand, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.
The children and their parents were getting ready to leave the beach for the day Wednesday afternoon when William Johnson, of Yarmouth, Massachusetts, attempted a U-turn and drifted onto the shoulder of State Road A1A. The SUV careened through the parking lot of Al Weeks Sr. North Shore Park and onto a ramp leading to the beach before dropping 20 feet (6 meters) into the sand near the water's edge.
"It's unbelievable to me how this happened," Jan Youwers, a tourist from Wisconsin who was renting a kayak across the street with her husband, told The Daytona Beach News-Journal . "They were literally the only people on the beach."
Youwers said she and her husband ran to the crash. She said the mother had taken beach stuff to the family's vehicle and was on her way back when the SUV hit her children. The father was on the beach but wasn't hit.
"The parents were amazing," Youwers said. "They kept all of their children lying still and calm. Everyone was awake and responding."
Highway Patrol Lt. Kim Montes said three of the children — who are ages 3 to 11 — and Johnson were taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital. A 5-year-old suffered traumatic injuries and was airlifted to another hospital.
"She received a serious gash on her head," Montes said.
None of the other injuries appeared to be life-threatening, she said.
First responders said Williams may have suffered a medical episode, but Montes said that hasn't been confirmed. She said troopers went to the hospital to evaluate the driver. Johnson was ticketed for careless driving and troopers recommended a driver's license re-examination.