Palm Bay woman charged in fatal Sunday hit-and-run crash


VERO BEACH — A Palm Bay woman who police said fatally struck a man walking along Indian River Boulevard, stopped to switch seats with a passenger in the car and then continued traveling northbound, was jailed Sunday. The driver, Shanice Person, told officers she became aware she struck something large in the middle of the road that was likely alive and could possibly be a person, reports show.

“She said that she was so intoxicated that she didn’t know what she hit, so she kept driving and stopped the car near 37th Street,” police said in an arrest report. “(She) knew at the time she could either turn around or stay where she was and call 911 for assistance.”

Instead, Person got into the front-passenger seat while a passenger hopped in the driver’s seat, police said. The driver then continued traveling northbound before Vero Beach police conducted a traffic stop on the car, reports show.

Shanice Person

Person, 24, was charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving death or personal injury and driving while license revoked causing death or serious bodily injury. Person, who told police she was a habitual traffic offender, was held Monday at the Indian River County Jail on a $70,000 bond.

The crash killed a 39-year-old man who lived in the Vista Royale condominium complex, officers said. The front-seat passenger told officers she saw what she thought was a person crossing the road toward the front of the car, police said.

The deadly wreck happened about 2:18 a.m. Sunday at Indian River Boulevard near the west end of the Merrill P. Barber Bridge. The early morning crash led police to block the roadway for about nine hours.

Police who responded to the scene found the man’s body lying in a grass median. A witness who was driving near the intersection told officers he heard a loud bang and then saw a dark-colored car accelerate on northbound Indian River Boulevard, reports show.

Officers and Indian River County sheriff’s deputies found a 2021 black Toyota – with heavy damage on the front driver’s side and a shattered windshield – near the 4700 block of Indian River Boulevard. Police conducted a traffic stop on the Toyota and spoke with the three occupants including Person.

Person and the other two individuals said they were at Filthy’s Fine Cocktails & Beer having alcoholic drinks moments before the crash. Pearson told officers she drove her friends from the bar.

Officers said Person initially told them she switched seats with a passenger before the crash. Person later admitted she was behind the wheel at the time of the collision, reports show.

Officers said Person’s driver’s license was revoked in 2020 for a period of five years.

Officers arrested Person and booked her into the county jail. Person has an arraignment at 10 a.m. Feb. 1, 2024, court records show.

Photos by Joshua Kodis

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