Lake Wales, Florida – On February 7, 2018 at approximately 9:15 PM, officers of the Lake Wales Police Department responded to a motor vehicle crash in front of the Lake Wales Inn Motel located at 18601 U.S Hwy 27. Upon arrival, officers began their initial investigation as the Lake Wales Fire Department and Polk County EMS attended to a patient.
Officer Klingler and Officer McVey were the first officers on scene. According to statements from the drivers involved, a gray 2000 Saturn four door was traveling north on U.S. Hwy 27 in the outside lane. As the Saturn approached the area in front of the Lake Wales Inn, it collided into the rear of a silver 2005 Nissan four door which had slowed down to turn into the Lake Wales Inn parking lot. The driver of the Saturn, Charity Lorena Hill a 35 year old Winter Haven resident, exited her vehicle and checked on the driver of the Nissan, Crystal Barroso a 32 year old, Lake Wales resident. For unknown reasons Hill then began walking Northbound along the shoulder of the road.
Soon after Hill began walking, a northbound white 2010 Mazda four door driving in the outside lane came upon the crash. The Mazda driver, Jennifer Trullinger, a 32 year old Frostproof resident, stated as soon as she noticed there was a crash in the roadway she also saw a figure along the edge of the road. Before being able to make an evasive move to avoid the crash or the figure the Mazda collided with the figure which was Hill. Trullinger stopped her vehicle in the center median and waited until emergency services arrived.
Hill was taken from the scene, via Emergency Medical Services, to the Lake Wales Medical Center for treatment. Hill succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased at 9:45 PM. Hill’s husband was a passenger involved in the crash and he has been notified of the death. Nobody else was injured in the crash.
Officer Hernandez responded to conduct a traffic homicide investigation. Northbound Highway 27 traffic was rerouted for approximately 5 hours. This investigation is on-going. Trullinger has been charged with not having a valid driver’s license. No other charges have been filed. Anyone with information in reference to this crash is asked to contact Officer Hernandez at the Lake Wales Police Department at 863-678-4223 extension 546 or Heartland Crime Stoppers at (800) 226-8477.