Investigation continues; community mourns local killed

Angel McCurdy | Northwest Florida Daily News

Officials say it will likely take weeks to investigate Tuesday’s fatal crash on U.S. Highway 98 and Danny Wuerffel Way.

The accident that killed 23-year-old Crestview resident Joseph “Joey” Tyrell and 42-year-old St. Petersburg resident James Bennett occurred around 3 a.m. and shut down traffic for nearly four hours.

Investigators have determined Tyrell was driving westbound in a white Mazda at the time of the crash, according to Deputy Matt Christmas.

“I have not determined where the Chevy was coming from yet, it might take me a few weeks to determine that,” Christmas said. “I have no witnesses to this crash and have to reconstruct it from scratch.”

Chris Clark, a friend of Tyrell, said the Niceville High graduate was headed home from his job training to be a sous chef at Hammerhead Bar & Grille in Destin.

Tyrell’s vehicle collided with the front end of Bennett’s Chevrolet Blazer, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Both men died at the scene.

Tyrell’s family has invited the public to attend visitation from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday and a celebration of life ceremony at 3 p.m. Monday at Brackney Funeral Service in Crestview. Clark said the family is asking attendees to come as they are in bright clothes and proudly displaying any body art – just what Tyrell would have wanted.

“His legacy was his music,” Clark said. “He was big into the underground music scene for years. But the biggest thing about Joey is he was one of the biggest hearted people I knew.

“He was 6’8 with tattoos and piercings. If you saw him walking down the sidewalk you would cross the street to avoid him, but he was the kindest person I knew.”