Man driving van on shore at Cocoa Beach nearly hits pedestrians, police say

Vehicle got stuck in sand

James Tumey (Brevard County Sheriff's Office)

COCOA BEACH, Fla. – Pedestrians had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit by a man who was driving a van on the beach and another area not open to vehicle traffic, according to the Cocoa Beach Police Department.

Records show reports came in about James Earl Tumey, 39, on Friday shortly before 7 p.m.

[TRENDING: Data scientist Rebekah Jones arrested in Florida | Disney World not selling any new annual passes | Orlando police search for missing 12-year-old girl]

Police said Tumey first drove east on Minutemen Causeway into an area not open to vehicle traffic and then he drove south on the beach for about two blocks before his Toyota van got stuck in the sand.

Pedestrians who were in the area had to jump out of Tumey’s way, according to the affidavit.

When police arrived, they said Tumey was gathering belongings from his vehicle. He was ordered to stop and place his hands behind his back so he could be arrested but he kept tensing up and pulling away to avoid being put in handcuffs, records show.

Police said he was eventually “forced to comply.”

Tumey, whose license was suspended in 2017, claimed that his cousin was driving the van and had run off but police said the keys were in Tumey’s pocket and there was no footprints in the sand leading away from the vehicle, according to the report.

Police said witnesses on the scene said Tumey was the driver and they also noted that the van was so packed with belongings that it’s unlikely two people would have fit in it.

Tumey was arrested on charges of reckless driving and driving with a suspended license.

Want more news like this? Click here to subscribe to’s Strange Florida newsletter, delivered every Friday.

About the Author:

Adrienne joined News 6's digital team in October 2016 to cover breaking news, crime and community interest stories. She graduated from the University of Central Florida and began her journalism career at the Orlando Sentinel.