March 03, 2017
Walton County FL – A Miramar Beach man will face up to 35 years in prison for Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Death.
According to a press release from State Attorney Bill Eddins, Cole Vess entered a plea of no contest before the Honorable Kelvin Wells for Leaving the scene of a crash involving death, driving while license suspended or revoked resulting in death or serious bodily injury to another human being, and driving without a valid driver’s license. Vess faces up to 35 years in state prison, including a 4 year minimum mandatory sentence. A Presentence Investigation has been ordered and the Court set sentencing for April 18, 2017.
The charges arose from a May 21, 2016 incident in Miramar Beach in Walton County where Cole Vess crashed into a pedestrian, Ryan Slowik, walking along Highway 98 in Walton County. Slowik was walking home in the early morning hours and was struck at approximately 1:50 AM by the defendant.
The defendant returned home, then had a roommate travel to the area to ascertain what object Vess had collided with.
The Florida Highway Patrol was notified the following morning of a deceased person in the median of Highway 98. FHP was able to determine the make and model of the vehicle that was involved with the crash by identifying debris left at the crash scene. FHP then issued a press release with the information of the vehicle they were seeking.
The following day the FHP was able to locate the vehicle after Vess contacted the authorities.
In a subsequent interview, Vess stated that he had been at several restaurants in Destin prior to the crash, but denied drinking. Vess stated that he was unaware he had hit anyone, but knew that he had hit something.
The investigation and arrest were conducted by the Walton County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Highway Patrol. Assistant State Attorney Josh Mitchell prosecuted the case.