An Apalachicola man was killed early Thursday morning when his SUV rolled over the Cape San Blas beaches near Money Bayou.
Both occupants were ejected, but Chris Burke, 28, became pinned under the vehicle and died as a result of his injuries or drowning. Burke was a former member of the South Gulf County Fire Department, completing first responder classes in 2008, and occasionally worked at the Scallop Cove Market on Cape San Blas.
Members of the SGCFD alerted of an auto accident with injury at 5 a.m. ET and found the SUV, which had rolled over several times, coming to rest on its roof in the shallows of the water.
The other occupant, Keith Kelly, 28, of Panama City, suffered critical injuries and was transported to Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf where he was Life Flighted to Bay Medical Center in Panama City and is being treated for hypothermia.
According to Vince Bishop, captain of the SGCFD, it’s unknown what caused the SUV to roll and the accident could have occurred hours before it was discovered by vacationers and called in during the early morning hours.
Bishop said that several factors likely contributed to the event including excessive speed over soft sand full of bumps, holes and logs. Neither occupant of the vehicle appeared to have been wearing a seatbelt nor was it clear which of the men had been driving.
The case is currently being investigated by the Florida Highway Patrol.