Lake Wales, Florida – On February 8, 2018 at approximately 1:45 AM, officers with the Lake Wales Police Department responded to SR60 and Henry Street in reference to a pedestrian laying in the roadway. Upon arrival, officers began their initial investigation as Lake Wales Fire Department and Polk County EMS attended to the pedestrian.
Officer Harmon and Officer Claros were the first officers on scene and spoke with the reporting person who called in seeing the pedestrian laying in the roadway. The reporting person said she was traveling eastbound on SR60 and passed what she first thought was a large animal in the eastbound lanes of the road. She said something seemed off and she turned around. She said when she came back, she realized what she saw was a pedestrian laying on the roadway and contacted the police. The reporting person said she did not see any vehicles in the vicinity of the pedestrian. At this point in the investigation it appears the pedestrian, Joseph L Gavin a 46 year old Lake Wales resident, was hit by an unknown vehicle which never stopped or left the scene of the crash.
Gavin was pronounced deceased at the scene and his family has been notified. Officer Jerome responded to the scene to conduct a traffic homicide investigation.
Eastbound SR60 was rerouted for approximately 4 ½ hours during the investigation. This investigation is on-going and anyone who witnessed this crash or has information about the crash is asked to contact Officer Jerome at the Lake Wales Police Department at 863-678-4223 extension 521 or Heartland Crime Stoppers at (800) 226-8477.