Update: Two-Car Crash Kills Woman In Viera

By  //  January 4, 2013

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Three Others Sustain Injuries

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BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA – A Melbourne woman was killed Thursday afternoon when the car she was riding in was struck broadside by another vehicle, sending her car careening off into a pond in Viera.

Sgt. Wanda Diaz of the Florida Highway Patrol said Joan Phaneuf, 79, was a passenger in a 2010 Hyundai Genesis west on Wickham Road about 3:40 p.m. Thursday and driven by her husband, Floyd Phaneuf Jr. of Melbourne, 72.

Diaz said a 2007 Mercury Milano driven by Contessa Gissendanner of Cocoa, 38, ran a stop sign while traveling south on Stadium Parkway and T-boned the Phaneuf’s Hyundai, which went out of control and crashed into a nearby pond.

The Phaneuf’s vehicle submerged beneath the water and witnesses dived in to help free the couple.

Brevard County Fire Rescue Lt. Jeff Taylor said when rescue units arrived on scene, efforts to remove the two occupants were under way by bystanders and Brevard County Sheriff’s deputies.

Paramedics evaluated the driver of the vehicle and he was then airlifted to Holmes Regional Medical Center’s Trauma Center in Melbourne. (SpaceCoastDaily.com file image)

Taylor said a man dressed in military fatigues was able to assist Floyd Phaneu from the car, but was unsuccessful in rescuing Joan Phanuef.

A sheriff’s deputy, with assistance from a firefighter, helped free the trapped woman who was then  transported to nearby Viera Hospital in critical condition. She subsequently died from her injuries there.

Taylor said paramedics evaluated Floyd Phaneuf and he was then airlifted to the Holmes Regional Trauma Center in Melbourne.

Gissendanner had to be extricated from her vehicle by firefighters using the “Jaws of Life.”  She sustained serious injuries and was also airlifted to the Trauma Center at Holmes Regional.

A passenger in Gissendanner’s car, Navasia Newton of Cocoa, 18, was listed in stable condition and transported to Viera Hospital for treatement.

Brevard County Fire Rescue units on scene included Truck 48, Engine 47, Rescue 48, Rescue 47, Rescue 45, HazMat 48, District Chief 40, and PIO 1.

Diaz said charges are pending following completion of an investigation into the crash.


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