Categories: Florida HIghway Patrol

Victim Identified In Viera Fatal Crash

VIERA, Florida — The Florida Highway Patrol has identified the victim in today’s fatal crash which left a vehicle submerged in a nearby retention pond in Viera, Florida.

Around 3:40 p.m. on Thursday, 38-year-old Contesa Gissendanner of Cocoa, Florida was driving a black 2007 Mercury Milan southbound on Stadium Parkway while 72-year-old Floyd Phaneuf, Jr. of Melbourne, Florida was driving a maroon 2010 Hyundai Genesis westbound on Wickham Road.

FHP says that the Milan ran a stop sign and t-boned the Genesis at the intersection of Wickham and Stadium.  The driver of the Genesis lost control and drove into a nearby pond.  The vehicle was totally submerged with both the driver and passenger still inside.

A man dressed in military fatigues jumped into the pond and was able to assist the driver from the car – but was not successful in rescuing passenger.  Laurie Brodeur, later told Brevard Times that the man in military fatigues was her son, 19-year-old Kevin Brodeur.  She said that he is a member of the U.S. Air Force and is home working for his recruiter for the Christmas holiday.  He is stationed at Davis Monthan AFB in Arizona.

A Brevard County Sheriff’s deputy who arrived on scene was finally successful in freeing the entrapped passenger, 79-year-old Joan Phaneuf of Melbourne, Florida, out of the submerged Genesis.  The deputy was later joined by a Brevard County Fire Rescue firefighter who helped move the passenger to the shore where she was treated and transported by ground to nearby Viera Hospital in critical condition.  FHP confirmed that she later died at the hospital.

Meanwhile, the driver of the Milan, who sustained serious injuries, was also entrapped and had to be extricated by firefighters using hydraulic cutting and spreading tools commonly known as the “Jaws of Life.”   

Both drivers were airlifted to the Trauma Center at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, Florida.

Additionally, an 18-year-old passenger who was in the Milan when the accident occurred was listed in stable condition and ground transported to Viera Hospital. 

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