A Brother And Sister Died In Early Morning Crash
Two Frostproof teens were killed on their way to school early Friday morning in Polk County.
According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the crash occurred on U.S. 27 at the intersection of Princeton Ave. around 6:20 a.m.
Jorge Lara, 18, was driving a Jeep with his sister, Melanie Lara, 15, in the passenger seat, said deputies. They were on their way to Frostproof High School where both are students.
The siblings were struck by a Chevrolet Silverado as Lara was attempting to turn onto U.S. 27. Both teens were declared dead at the scene.
The news came as a shock to students and friends at Frostproof. Grief counselors have been called to the school to assist with the somber scene among the classmates of the Lara siblings.
Chaplains and victim advocates have been called to help the family.
The Silverado pickup truck was driven by Jose Vazquez-Rivera, 23, of Bartow. Francisco Herrera, 23, of Wahneta, and Luiz Lazos-Gomez, 32, of Wahneta were passengers in the truck at the time of the accident. All three passengers were transported to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.
US Hwy 27 southbound lanes were closed for about five hours due to the crash, but reopened around 11:00 a.m.
Investigators say it doesn’t appear that speeding was a factor and no drugs or alcohol seem to be a case. Officials believe it was simply a case of Lara not seeing the truck before making the turn.
“When I first found out I just busted into tears because he was close to me, and then today, I didn’t do nothing. I just needed to take a break,” said Javier Aguiler, friend of Jorge at Frostproof High School, per ABC Action News.
“Everybody was crying and running to the guidance counsels and everything,” another friend told ABC Action News.