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CAPE CORAL | Older couple dead after crashing into canal, family and community want change

Victims from canal crash in Cape Coral
Posted at 6:58 PM, Nov 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-13 20:33:24-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Sunday, Cape Coral Police (CCPD) responded to 4323 Kismet Parkway West after a car crashed into the canal.

Police said the two people in the car that drove off the road into the canal died.

The victims were 94-year-old Howard Cooper and his wife 88-year-old Marilyn Cooper.

Victims from canal crash in Cape Coral

According to CCPD, the two were driving on Kismet Parkway and Northwest 43rd Place where Kismet ends with a U-turn. Police said the couple missed the turn, drove off into the grass, hit a palm tree and then the seawall.

The Cooper's family tells Fox 4's Briana Brownlee they noticed they were missing earlier that afternoon.

"I was sent an article about there were two people found in the canal and we all had a bad feeling," said Addison Bryant, the Coopers great niece.

That feeling after the Cooper's family spent hours searching for them on Sunday only to get the worst news.

Bryant said the couple just moved to the area from Kansas. She said she was the one who took care of them, by driving them to the grocery store and church.

She was at work on Sunday and when she returned home she noticed they weren't there.

Victim's from Cape Coral canal crash

At first she didn't think too much of it because she thought they were out getting something to eat, but as time went on she knew something was wrong.

She went out searching for them and while on Burnt Store Road she saw all of the police cars going to the area of Kismet Parway West.

"My brother came down to the scene and he was like 'I just need to know if it was a Kansas license plate,' and sure enough it was a Kansas plate," Bryant said. "It was just heartbreaking, he was 94, she was 88. He was in really good shape. She had Alzheimer's. I knew I had a bad feeling but this is unbelievable, shock was the emotion we all had."

"It was insane, seeing them pull the car out," said Josiah Chavez a neighbor in the neighborhood.

Josiah sent Fox 4 videos and photos of the scene as they saw the car be pulled from the water.

After the victim's car was pulled from the water

He and his family live only a few houses down from the canal and said with the lack of street lights and signage, there is a need for more warning signs.

"We need to get a sign that reads dead end or dead end canal in a thousand feet," said Ben Chavez another neighbor in the area. "I did call the city just recently and I was able to talk to a gentleman who said they are putting a ticket in. He said they are going to prioritize it and he mentioned to me that it's not going to fall on deaf ears."

Chavez showed Fox 4 that the city responded to his request.

Ben Chavez's email from the city of Cape Coral confirming they received his request

According to many neighbors in the neighborhood this isn't the first time this has happened.

Neighbors said about a year ago another elderly couple drove off into that same canal but they were rescued by neighbors.

"If they aren't looking at the map, or they don't have some kind of GPS especially an elderly couple they probably are going to keep driving," Chavez said.

"Speed bumps or something, like I was telling other people, the protocols on pools you have to have a fence but for canals they don't have any restrictions," Bryant said. "I mean they have signs behind me, but that's not enough that's like last minute."

Bryant said her loved ones were married for more than 50 years and absolutely loved each other.

CCPD said speed, alcohol or drugs weren't a factor in the crash.