It’s something most people can relate to. You’re in the best company amongst friends or family on New Year’s Eve, and you’re staying up until midnight to flip the calendar with the people you care about the most. The countdown begins; five, four, three, two, one…

Hugs, kisses and laughter ensue after midnight, and the hope for a healthy and prosperous year begins again.

The minutes ticking away on the clock during the evening of December 31 represented the final moments of 47 year-old James Cooke’s life, which is about as somber a way to end a year as one can think of.

He was driving his 2022 Lucid Air just before midnight, when he lost control of the vehicle. It was traveling south in a northbound lane, crashed into a palm tree and then smashed into a concrete wall. This took place on the corner of Flagler Drive and Granada Road.

“I stood there, and within one block it hit something and exploded,” said local resident Barbara Ricke. “Fire went up 30 feet(in the air).” Via

Cooke and his passenger, who has not yet been identified, died at the scene of the accident.

The investigation is ongoing, and it’s unclear at this time whether alcohol or drugs were a factor. It does seem to be established that Cooke was speeding in his vehicle before the accident took place.

“I’ve been to the Daytona 500, so I know the sound and I know that speed at which someone goes,” Ricke said. “They were going that fast. It was so out of control. I’ve never seen anything like it.” Via

The crash took place along the West Palm Beach waterfront.

Everyone at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath hopes that you had a safe and fun New Year’s holiday. We’re here for the community in 2023 as well, and can be reached at (561) 655-1990 in the event you or someone you know is hurt in a motor vehicle accident.