Polk deputies investigating fatal multi-vehicle crash

Courtesy: Polk County Sheriff's Office

Aaron Michael Russ, 28, of Center Hill, was killed Friday morning in a multi-vehicle crash in Lakeland, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

It happened shortly after 7 a.m. on U.S. Highway 98 just north of Lakeland Acres Road. 

Deputies say Russ, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was traveling southbound on U.S. Highway 98, about half a mile north of Lakeland Acres Road, when he drifted into the northbound lanes and side-swiped an international semi-truck and trailer driven by Commie Spead III, 44, of St. Mary’s, Georgia, damaging several tires and rims on the semi-truck and trailer. 

Russ traveled further into the northbound lane, striking a semi-truck and trailer driven by Deriel Malagon-Lemus, 37, of Port Richey, just behind the left front tire and causing significant intrusion into the semi-truck’s cab.

Spead stopped his semi-truck and trailer along the east shoulder of the roadway. Malagon-Lemus’s semi-truck and trailer slid off the east shoulder of the road approximately 150 feet, stopping in a shallow ditch near the east wood line. 

Russ died at the scene. Spead was taken to an area hospital as a precaution. He was treated and released. Malagon-Lemus was also taken to an area hospital with serious injuries.

Spead and Malagon-Lemus were wearing their seatbelts at the time of the crash, according to PCSO.

The road was closed for approximately six hours and the crash is under investigation.   

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