ARCADIA, Fla. — The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating after a 4-year-old girl was killed and a 5-year-old girl was seriously injured Wednesday afternoon when a driver crashed into a playground in Arcadia.
Troopers said an 18-year-old woman from Tampa was driving a Jeep Cherokee on East Magnolia Street, State Road 70, just after 4:30 p.m. when she went off the roadway and crashed into several things before the playground at a preschool. It happened near the intersection with SE Mills Avenue.
According to troopers, the driver went over a raised concrete curb, hit a street sign, crossed the sidewalk on the southern side of East Magnolia Street then hit a chain-link fence, metal post and wooden support post at the corner of the preschool.
The vehicle then continued and hit several other wooden support posts and playground equipment, according to troopers. At that time, troopers said the driver hit the two toddlers who were playing.
After hitting the toddlers, troopers said the driver crashed into a tree in the playground and came to a stop.
The 4-year-old was taken to Gulf Coast Hospital in critical condition and, after her arrival, was pronounced dead. The 5-year-old was taken to DeSoto Memorial Hospital in serious condition.
The 18-year-old driver was taken to DeSoto Memorial for minor injuries. She was then arrested for driving without a valid driver's license. Troopers said she was booked into the DeSoto County Jail.
She was later identified as Kiara Morant. She was released from jail on a $120 bond, according to jail records.
The crash remains under investigation.