Woman’s body found in burnt car

OKEECHOBEE — An unidentified woman apparently died early Monday morning as a result of a single car accident on S.E. 40th Avenue at the CSX railroad tracks.

Since there was a fatality involved, the accident was turned over to the Florida Highway Patrol. When contacted, FHP Trooper Sergeant Mark Wysocky said the victim’s name could not be released because they were still trying to positively identify the female victim.

An Okeechobee County Fire/Rescue (OCF/R) report indicated that agency was notified of a small brush fire in the area around 4:21 a.m. on Feb. 26.

When firefighters responded they “… found a vehicle near the tracks burning with some grass and brush burning around it,” stated a report by Lieutenant Matthew Vinson, an OCF/R firefighter/paramedic.

After the fire was extinguished, firefighters began documenting damages to the vehicle when they noticed a body in the driver’s seat of the vehicle. The vehicle was identified as a 2001 Dodge.

Because of their finding, firefighters contacted the sheriff’s office and the FHP.

“(A) secondary search was completed around the scene with no additional patients found,” stated Lt. Vinson’s report.

OCF/R personnel remained on scene to assist FHP investigators on removing the body from the vehicle.

OCF/R Lieutenant Ryan Hathaway said Tuesday afternoon that his agency also could not positively identify the victim.

According to Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) dispatcher notes it appeared as if the vehicle jumped the train tracks. Those notes go on to state the train tracks appeared “… to have been pushed about a foot.”

All train traffic was halted until the rails were repaired.

Lt. Vinson’s report pointed out that OCF/R personnel arrived on scene at 4:34 a.m. and had the fire under control by 4:40 a.m. The last OCF/R unit cleared the scene at 7:15 a.m.

Estimated damage to the vehicle was set at $10,000.

The cause of the accident, as well as the subsequent blaze, is still under investigation.

Sgt. Wysocky did not give any indication as to when the victim’s identity would be released.

Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

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