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Reckless driving seen in Shores car fatality


Before a classic Corvette struck a cement light pole Thursday morning on A1A, killing the driver who was the lone occupant of the car, witnesses told police they noticed the victim driving recklessly through Indian River Shores.

The crash has been turned over to the Florida Highway Patrol for investigation, and forensic evidence typically takes many weeks to process.  But initially, Shores Public Safety officers are chalking this one up to the driver losing control of his car on the highway.

The deceased 51-year-old white male, John Pierce Keller Jr., lived in the Bethel Isle community just west of the Village Beach Market.

The incident report released by the Shores Public Safety Department in response to a public records request said the first person to spot the black 1972 Corvette slammed into the base of the electric pole was David Albury, a security guard from Sea Colony who called in the crash at 7:40 a.m.

Albury attempted to get the car door open but could not. Richard Dent, an off-duty paramedic with Indian River County Fire Rescue, was the first medical responder to arrive and concluded the subject had been killed on impact.

Two men walking their dogs along A1A reported seeing the vehicle speeding prior to the crash. Robert Hobbs said he was walking his dog around 7:20 and “observed the vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed, and making several U-turns on A1A.” Clarence Lake reported to police that he saw the Corvette “driving like a bat out of hell” and then heard a “boom” at 7:34 a.m., but did not see the crash itself.

The car was not much more than a pile of rubble after it struck the heavy concrete light pole, which was knocked ajar by the impact. Outside the meeting, Chief Rich Rosell said power had not been interrupted and that it would take some time for crews to right the pole. He could not release Keller’s identity at the time as police were still trying to locate next of kin.

Keller, who held a master’s degree from Barry University, was the founder of Coastal Behavior Analysis in Vero Beach and worked with the Indian River County School District, counseling special needs children for more than a decade.

Rosell said officers on the scene, upon a cursory examination of the area surrounding the crash, reported no obvious tire marks that would have indicated Keller had skidded or tried to stop. Weather was clear that morning with no rain or wet pavement.