Saturday, June 22

Vandalism, burnouts at site in Port St. Lucie where 3 died; 2 arrested

Two people were arrested at Veterans Memorial Parkway in Port St. Lucie this week at the same location where three people died in a crash last weekend.

Port St. Lucie police said on Monday afternoon, the were called to the 1500 block of Southeast Veterans Memorial Parkway for car doing burnouts. According to an arrest affidavit, an officer arrived to find several teenagers and cars in a grassy area where a fatal crash happened last weekend. Police spoke to a man identified as Jonathan Ellison, 20, who told police that his brother was one the victims who died in the crash, and that he was doing the burnouts to honor his brother’s death.

On Thursday at around 1:45 a.m., a Port St.Lucie police officer found a man, later identified as Nicholas Pense, 27, vandalizing a memorial that was at the crash site. According to an arrest affidavit, Pense told police he had the memorial on his mind and could not sleep and drove to the memorial “with the intention of vandalizing” it. Pense had wax on his shoe and pant legs “consistent with him kicking over the candles that were illuminated on two memorials,” the affidavit stated. Police also said a cross and two memorials were damaged, and broken glass from the candles were on the sidewalk and roadway.

Ellison was issued a citation for racing on a highway.

Pense faces charges of destroying or demolishing a memorial or historic property.

Both were taken to St. Lucie County Jail.

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