A Sunday night crash near Winter Haven claimed the lives of two people, and left six others injured.
Deputies from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, along with Polk County Fire Rescue members, responded to the crash at around 10:30 PM, Sunday, July 4, 2021, at the intersection of Thornhill Road and Byni Ridge.
When deputies arrived, 29-year old Brittny Washburn of Eagle Lake was found deceased in the driver seat of a maroon 2016 Kia Optima. Her front-seat passenger, 36-year old James Mullins of Auburndale suffered head and blunt-force trauma injuries. He was transported to the hospital but was pronounced deceased shortly after arrival.
Another passenger in Washburn’s Kia was her 4-year old son. He was airlifted to a Tampa hospital with possible head injuries and was in critical condition.
The second vehicle involved was a blue 2004 Toyota Tundra pickup truck, driven by 51-year old Fredric McCreary of Winter Haven. He was taken to an area hospital with a broken leg.
All four of Mr. McCreary’s passengers were also transported to local hospitals. They were: 33-year old Alexander McCreary of Lakeland, 14-year old Piper Mikel of Winter Haven, 52-year old Melissa Mikel of Winter Haven, and 28-year old Corey Pickering of Lakeland.
According to the preliminary investigation based on evidence and witness statements, both vehicles were travelling on Thornhill Road in opposite directions just prior to the crash. Washburn’s Kia was northbound; Mr. McCreary’s Toyota was southbound.
As the vehicles approached the intersection, the Kia crossed over the center line, appearing to attempt a left hand turn (west) onto Byni Ridge, in front of the oncoming Toyota.
None of those involved in the crash were wearing seat belts. The 4-year old child was in a car seat, but was not buckled into the seat.
The crash investigation remains ongoing at this time.