Three men killed in fiery crash in WInter Haven
WINTER HAVEN (FOX 13) - Three people were killed early Saturday morning in a fiery crash in Winter Haven. It could take a while for authorities to identify who was inside the vehicle.
According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, a white 2015 Chrysler 200 was travelling the wrong way down Eagle Lake Road, a one-way, around 3:30 a.m.
It's unclear if the driver meant to turn left or right onto Spirit Lake Road. Investigators said it did not appear the driver ever hit the brakes at the intersection.
"We see absolutely no skid marks. We see no effort to make the turn onto Sheffield Road," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
The car sped across Spirit Lake Road at a high rate of speed, according to deputies, crashing into a ditch before going airborne and striking a large oak tree.
"Unfortunately, the vehicle burst into flames," said Judd. "It was a horrific fire, and three people are deceased in the vehicle."
A passing driver called 911. When emergency crews arrived, they found three men deceased inside the vehicle.
All of the victims were so badly burned that authorities could not identify their remains.
"Because there was a horrific crash and a very intense fire, it will take some time," said Judd.
Investigators believe the victims died prior to the fire from the impact of the crash.
Authorities will perform an autopsy on the three victims to positively identify them and notify relatives.
According to friends arriving on scene, the car was a rental, rented in the name of the driver's girlfriend.
It appears the two victims in the front seats were wearing seat belts, but the man in the backseat was not wearing a seatbelt.
Investigators are not sure if impaired or distracted driving played a role in the crash.