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Police continue investigation into fatal accident

By Staff | Sep 27, 2010

Police are investigating a traffic accident that left one woman dead early Thursday morning in southeast Cape Coral, according to officials.
Corliss McCarson Rhodes, 64, of 3887 S.E. Seventh Place, died from the injuries that she sustained when she became pinned between the door of a van and a palm tree. The incident occurred at a home at 244 S.E. 45th St.
Two other occupants of the van were not injured in the accident.
“A traffic homicide investigation is being conducted,” Connie Barron, a spokeswoman for the Cape police, said in a prepared statement Monday.
Police responded to a 911 call reporting an accident at the Southeast 45th Street home at about 12:52 a.m. According to the initial investigation, a GMC van driven by Rhodes had pulled into the driveway of a home at 243 S.E. 45th St., to drop off Ruth Newman, 57, the front seat passenger in the vehicle.
While Newman was being dropped off, an argument and an altercation was occurring between the occupants, including Angela Nicole Nesta, 26, of 4318 Country Club Blvd. Nesta was seated in the back passenger seat.
Rhodes put the van in “reverse” rather than “park” and attempted to exit the vehicle.
According to police, the van began to roll backwards and Nesta jumped into the driver’s seat in an attempt to stop the vehicle. Newman reportedly began pushing Nesta, causing Nesta’s foot to slip off the brake and hit the vehicle’s accelerator.
The vehicle backed out of the driveway and across the street. Rhodes, who was holding on to the driver’s side door, was dragged across the street. The van drove into the front lawn of the home at 244 S.E. 45th St. and between two palm trees. Rhodes was pinned between the door and one of the trees.
Barron reported that the medical examiner responded to the scene, where Rhodes died from her injuries.
A police report states that Rhodes was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident, while Nesta was not drinking or using drugs. Blood was taken from Rhodes and Nesta for testing. The test results are pending.