1 killed, several injured in Polk County crash

Posted at 8:05 PM, Feb 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-24 07:31:17-05

One woman died and four others were injured in a two-vehicle crash Tuesday on State Road 60 in Wahneta.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office reports a 1999 Toyota was heading east on State Road 60 around 7:00 p.m. when the driver attempted to make a left turn onto Rifle Range Road. The Toyota turned in front of a 2013 Kia heading westbound on State Road 60.

The cars collided in the intersection, with the front of the Kia hitting the passenger side of the Toyota.

Paramedics airlifted the driver of the Toyota, 18-year-old Marcua Morris, to Lakeland Regional Medical Center. He suffered critical injuries and it is unknown if he will survive.

His mother, 44-year-old Melissa McLendon, was sitting in the front passenger seat. Authorities say she died at the accident scene. Crews had to extricate her body from the wreckage.

The driver of the Kia, 24-year-old Meralys Calderon, suffered a leg injury in the crash and is expected to survive.

Two of the three passengers in the Kia were also injured. One-year-old Joel Nunez was released from Lakeland Regional Medical Center after receiving treatment. Five-year-old Genesis Nunez is expected to recover after being airlifted to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa.

Deputies say the six people in both vehicles were wearing their seatbelts or properly restrained in child safety seats.

Authorities are investigating if speed, impairment, or distraction were a factor in the crash.

Westbound State Road 60 near the accident scene was shut down for several hours Tuesday night but has since reopened.