61. Daytona Beach Shores cops: St. Augustine man killed in fiery car crash caused by excessive speed

Top 100 Local Stories of 2014 in Central Florida / Headline Surfer®
Michael Viola of St. Augustine killed in speeding wreck in Daytona Beach Shores, FL / Headline Surfer®Photo for Headline Surfer® /
Michael Viola, 48, of St. Augustine, was killed in a fiery crash after going airborne. Excessive speed was cited as the reason for the deadly crash.
 

DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, Fla. -- Traffic homicide investigators to this day aren't sure why a St. Augustine motorist was driving at speeds of up to 110 mph on April 25, when he crashed his Toyota hatchback leading to a fiery explosion and his death.

The driver crossed into the northbound lanes, struck a curb and became airborne -- then collided with a light pole 13 feet above ground. This led to a fiery explosion with the driver inside.

The vehicle was fully engulfed in flames when police responded just after midnight in the 2900 block of South Atlantic Avenue.

The driver, identified as 42-year-old Michael Viola, was pronounced dead at the scene of the fiery crash in front of a condominium building where witnesses said they heard a loud noise.

Here is a summary of the horrific crash as described by Daytona Beach Shores Sgt. Michael Fowler: "An officer of the Daytona Beach Shores Department of Public Safety heard a loud explosion in the 2900 block of South Atlantic Avenue just after midnight. When he responded to investigate he found a fiery crash in front of Oceans 8 condominium. Daytona Beach Shores fire crews responded to the scene and quickly extinguished the fire. The single vehicle crash resulted in the death of the sole occupant."

Fowler continued, "An initial investigation revealed that the silver Toyota hatchback was traveling southbound on South Atlantic Avenue at speeds of up to 110 miles per hour when it crossed into the northbound lanes and struck a curb, sending it airborne. During the crash the vehicle struck a light pole at 13 feet in the air and exploded. The fire had fully engulfed the vehicle prior to the officers’ arrival."

Daytona Beach Shores police Sgt. Michael Fowler continued, "An initial investigation revealed that the silver Toyota hatchback was traveling southbound on South Atlantic Avenue at speeds of up to 110 miles per hour when it crossed into the northbound lanes and struck a curb, sending it airborne. During the crash the vehicle struck a light pole at 13 feet in the air and exploded. The fire had fully engulfed the vehicle prior to the officers’ arrival."

The speeding-related motor vehicle fatality comes in at No. 61 in the HeadlineSurfer.com countdown of the top 100 local stories of 2014.

 

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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.