Haines City Police Department Press Release
Haines City, Florida – A Lake Hamilton man was arrested on charges of reckless driving and driving
without a license after driving into a downtown business Monday afternoon.
Cesar Mendoza Tapia Jr., 19, was turning left from Sixth Street South onto Hinson Avenue in a 2005
Ford Mustang just after 5 p.m. Tapia was in the inside westbound lane of Hinson Avenue when he lost
control and crashed into the south window of Rent King, 500 E. Hinson Ave.
The vehicle came to a rest completely inside the building. There were no reported injuries and Tapia
refused medical treatment.
The crash investigation determined that Tapia was operating the vehicle in a reckless manner and at a
speed well above the posted 30 miles per hour limit. The business owner estimated the damage to
exceed $25,000. Tapia did not possess a valid Florida driver’s license, only a Florida identification card.
Code compliance determined that the building was structurally sound. Tapia was transported to the Polk
“This is an area that usually has a heavy pedestrian presence and we’re so thankful that no one was
hurt,” Police Chief Jim Elensky said. “Mr. Tapia was taken to jail, but this could have been much, much
worse. We hope this serves as a lesson to him and anyone else who thinks it’s OK to drive without a
license or at high rates of speed.”