Two dead, six injured in Winter Haven crash

Polk County deputies said the driver and passenger of one vehicle died following a crash Sunday night, leaving six others injured including a 4-year-old.

Deputies said they responded to the crash around 10:30 p.m. at the intersection of Thornhill Road and Byni Ridge in Winter Haven. Investigators said, according to preliminary evidence, a maroon 2016 Kia Optima was heading north on Thornhill Road while a second vehicle, a blue 2004 Toyota Tundra pickup truck, was heading south.

According to the sheriff’s office, it appears as both vehicles were approaching the Byni Ridge intersection, when the 29-year-old female driver of the Kia crossed over the center line, in front of the oncoming Toyota, possibly to make a left turn.

Both vehicles crashed. Deputies said the driver of the Kia was found dead when they arrived. Her front-seat passenger, a 36-year-old man from Auburndale, was taken to a hospital where he passed away shortly after arriving.

Another passenger, the driver’s 4-year-old son, was airlifted to a Tampa hospital with possible head injuries and was in critical condition.

The driver of the pickup truck, a 51-year-old man from Winter Haven, was taken to a hospital with a broken leg. His four passengers – ages 14, 28, 33, 52 – were taken to nearby hospitals. 

"None of those involved in the crash were wearing seat belts," according to the sheriff's office. "The 4-year old child was in a car seat, but was not buckled into the seat."

Deputies said they are still investigating the crash.