Merritt Island Man Arrested for Deadly New Year’s Eve Crash

Merritt Island Man Arrested for Deadly New Year’s Eve crash in Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach, FL – A tragic incident unfolded on New Year’s Eve when a deadly crash occurred on West Cocoa Beach Causeway, just west of Bicentennial Park. The Cocoa Beach Police Department responded to a report of a crash with multiple injuries just after 9 p.m.

Upon arrival, officers discovered a crash involving two vehicles, with debris scattered across the roadway. Due to the extensive debris field, the westbound lanes of the Causeway were closed for several hours while the police department, with assistance from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, investigated the scene.

The crash involved two drivers and their passengers, all of whom were transported to local hospitals for treatment. Tragically, one of the passengers, identified as 70-year-old Pamela Morrison of Barney, Georgia, succumbed to her injuries and passed away.

Preliminary examination of the crash scene indicated that it was a high-speed rear-end collision. Investigators determined that one of the drivers, 36-year-old Mark Vannicola from Merritt Island, was traveling recklessly under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.

Vannicola has since been taken into custody and booked into the Brevard County jail. He faces charges of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, DUI with serious bodily injury, and being a habitual DUI offender. His total bond is set at $620,000.

One of the crash victims remains in critical condition at a local hospital, while the police department continues its investigation into the sequence of events leading up to the crash. Anyone with additional information is urged to contact the police department at 321-868-3251.

The location of the incident, West Cocoa Beach Causeway, is a popular roadway for locals and visitors alike. As a coastal city, Cocoa Beach attracts many tourists due to its beautiful beaches and recreational activities. The city is located on Florida’s eastern coast, known as the Space Coast, and is famous for being the home of the Kennedy Space Center.

The investigation into this tragic crash serves as a reminder of the dangers of driving under the influence. Authorities continue to work diligently to ensure the safety of the community and hold those responsible for such incidents accountable.

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