Sheriff: Driver fleeing Polk deputies dies in crash, killing 2 others

A driver who fled from deputies in Polk County caused a 4-vehicle crash in the Haines City area that left three people dead Monday evening, according to the sheriff’s office.

It started with a call to 911 about a possible abduction in Poinciana, according to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. Deputies followed a driver who fled from the scene of the alleged incident, and they tried to get him to pull over. 

The sheriff says the driver started moving recklessly on the roadway and deputies turned their patrol lights off. 

Miles later, on Lake Hatchineha Road near Watkins Road, east of Haines City, the speeding driver caused a crash with three other vehicles. According to the sheriff, the driver was not being pursued at the time of the crash. 

"Unfortunately this guy was driving like an out-of-control maniac and caused a horrific crash," Sheriff Grady Judd said.

Crash investigators say figuring out exactly what happened at the crash will be complicated because of severe damage to the vehicles involved.

The male driver of the vehicle that was being pursued died at the scene. Two others also died, and three were flown to area hospitals. All were believed to be adults. 

The road reopened just after 6:30 p.m.

The sheriff’s office said there appears not to have been an abduction, but there had been some kind of disturbance.