Florida & polk county , winter haven news

Serious Bodily Injury Crash On Hwy 98 S & Colbert Rd

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Polk County Sheriffs Office Release

Lakeland, Florida – The Polk County Sheriffs Office is Investigating a serious bodily injury crash that occurred yesterday on 98 South & Colbert Road. The crash occurred around 4:30pm.

PCSO Southwest District Deputies responded to a vehicle crash involving two vehicles.  Upon arrival, they secured the crash site and routed traffic away from the crash. Polk County Fire and EMS also responded to the scene and rendered aid to all subjects involved in the crash.

PCSO Traffic Homicide Unit responded to assume the investigation (serious bodily injury).

Preliminary investigation suggests, Ruth Tharp, 80 yrs old from Lakeland, was traveling South on Hwy 98 S in the outer most lane of travel.  As she approached the intersection of Colbert Rd, Michael Steele, 69 yrs old of Lakeland, pulled out in front of her off of Colbert Rd, violating her right of way.  Tharp T-boned Steele’s driver side causing massive intrusion into the driver’s side compartment of the vehicle.  Steele was airlifted to the Lakeland Regional Health due to his injuries. Tharp and her front passenger, Erika Solis, were transported to Lakeland Regional Health by ground due to their injuries.  No witnesses came forward during the investigation.

All parties involved were using their seatbelts at the time of the crash.  The side curtain airbags did deploy in Steele’s vehicle and both frontal airbags deployed in Tharp’s vehicle.

Steele’s injuries are considered life threating and his condition is critical.

Steele’s injuries are considered life threating and his condition is critical.

Both Tharp and Solis injuries are minor and consist of overall body soreness.

Hwy 98 S. southbound lanes were closed for approximately 4 hours during the investigation.

The crash investigation is ongoing.


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