Frostproof teen siblings killed driving to school

- Two Frostproof High School students -- identified as a brother and sister -- were killed in a car crash Friday morning. 

According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, 18-year-old Jorge Lara was driving to school around 6:20 a.m. His sister, 15-year-old Melanie, was a passenger in the Jeep Liberty. 

As the Jeep left Providence Avenue to turn onto US Hwy 27, it was struck by a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. Both teenagers were killed.

There is a stop sign on Princeton Avenue at the intersection. It appears that Jorge Lara did not see the oncoming truck before pulling out.

The three men in the truck were identified as 23-year-old Jose Vasquez-Riviera, 23-year-old Francisco Herrera, and 32-year-old Luis Lazos-Gomez. They were all transported to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries and expected to recover. 

All of the occupants of both vehicles were wearing their seatbelts, and airbags deployed.

The speed limit on US 27 in that area is 65 MPH. There is no indication at this time that excessive speed, impairment, or distraction on anyone's part is a factor.

The roadway in that area was closed for approximately 5 hours during the investigation.

Grief counselors have been at the school this morning, and a crisis team is available. A school spokesperson released the following statement on behalf of principal Kyle Windham:

"We are heartbroken at the tragic news that two of our Frostproof Middle-Senior High students, Jorge and Melanie Lara, were fatally injured in a crash this morning. These two students were the epitome of character, honesty, and integrity that we hope all of our students strive to be. They were well-behaved and were a joy to have as students. They were polite, caring and very bright. The news of their passing has been devastating for our school community as well as all who knew them. They will be greatly missed by their school family as well as all of those who love them. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their family members," Jason Geary wrote.




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