By | January 15, 2024

Merritt Island Man Arrested for Fatal New Year’s Eve Crash in Cocoa Beach

A tragic incident unfolded on the evening of New Year’s Eve in Cocoa Beach, Florida, as a deadly crash claimed the life of a passenger and left several others injured. Now, a local man has been arrested for his role in the collision.

The Cocoa Beach Police Department received a distress call just after 9 p.m. on December 31st, reporting a crash with multiple injuries on West Cocoa Beach Causeway, near Bicentennial Park. Responding officers arrived at the scene to find two vehicles involved in a rear-end collision, resulting in a widespread debris field.

Due to the size of the wreckage, the westbound lanes of the Causeway were closed for several hours while authorities from the Cocoa Beach Police Department, alongside the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, conducted their investigation.

According to preliminary findings, the crash occurred at a high rate of speed, indicating a reckless rear-end collision. Further investigation revealed that one of the drivers, identified as 36-year-old Mark Vannicola from Merritt Island, was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.

Tragically, one of the passengers involved in the collision, 70-year-old Pamela Morrison from Barney, Georgia, succumbed to her injuries and passed away. The drivers and the remaining passengers were transported to local hospitals for medical treatment.

Following the investigation, Vannicola was taken into custody and has since been charged with DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and two counts of DUI with serious bodily injury. Additionally, he faces a charge of being a habitual DUI offender. Vannicola is currently being held at Brevard County jail on a bond amounting to $620,000.

The Cocoa Beach Police Department continues to investigate the sequence of events leading up to the crash and urges anyone with additional information to come forward. They can be reached at 321-868-3251.

This shocking incident serves as a tragic reminder of the dangers of driving under the influence. As the investigation progresses, our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this devastating event.

To stay updated on this story and other local news, download our free news, weather, and smart TV apps, and tune in to Channel 9 Eyewitness News for the latest updates.

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice..

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