Around 1:35 p.m., the PCSO ECC received 911 calls about a single-vehicle crash on CR 540-A East, just east of Lakeland Highlands Road in Lakeland, involving a 2003 red Toyota Tundra pickup truck that was pulling a dual-axle flatbed utility trailer.
According to the evidence and witness statements, 63-year-old Michael Krause of Lakeland was pulling the trailer loaded with sod eastbound on CR 540-A when the trailer began to swing violently from side to side, pulling the truck sideways. The truck flipped onto the driver’s side, partially ejecting and significantly injuring a back seat passenger, Krause’s grandson, 8-year-old Tripp Butler.
The other occupants of the truck – Krause’s wife, 63-year-old Loretta, and his other grandson, 13-year-old Patrick Boelens, all of Lakeland – were not seriously injured. No other vehicles were involved. The roadway was closed for approximately four hours during the investigation, which is ongoing. Tripp Butler was taken to LRHMC, and then later flown to Tampa General Hospital. He succumbed to his injuries late last evening. He attended Highlands Grove Elementary School.