HOMELAND, Fla. - Hearing about the car crash that left a mother and daughter dead with another in the hospital was enough to put tears in the eyes of Rose Pfohman. It was her neighbor's daughter who was behind the wheel when the crash happened in Homeland, in southern Polk County.
But when she heard the circumstances about the deadly accident, it gave her mixed emotions.
"I don't understand why she was driving," Pfohman said.
She was talking about 14-year-old Destiny Ensslin, who sheriff's investigators believe was driving without a license northbound on U.S. 17 Monday afternoon. Deputies say Ensslin was turning into oncoming traffic at the intersection of county road 640, when her Chevy Cobalt was struck by a minivan driven by an elderly couple.
The crash killed passengers Dawn Ensslin, 42 (the girl's mother), and Delaney Ensslin, 8 (the girl's sister), while the teenager was taken to the Lakeland Regional Medical Center. Doris Foust, 77, and her husband Richard Foust, 80, suffered minor injuries.
Students at Kathleen High School, where Ensslin attended, began gathering donations for her family. Many of her classmates were in disbelief.
"Shocked, because she was a really good girl. It's just sad," said Leslie Willis, one of Ensslin's friends.
"It's just kind of crazy to hear that, but I'm keeping them in my prayers," said Kathleen High student Seth Boss.
Sheriff's investigators said they are waiting for Ensslin to recover from her injuries before deciding whether to file charges against her.
The Polk County Sheriff's office said arrests for under age driving is rare. The last known case was when a 12-year old was caught driving on a race track in Auburndale.
Still, deputies said it's impossible to monitor what happens on private property.
Betty Kelly, a resident of northern Polk County, said she's seen it before.
"Out here in the country, I've a seen a woman go by with a little boy in the car and she would stop out here and let him drive," Kelly said.
"I didn't like it."
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