NewsPolk County


2 killed in Winter Haven after crash with semi

Winter Haven fatal crash
Posted at 6:31 AM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 05:08:39-05

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — The Polk County Sheriff's Office says two people are dead after a crash between a vehicle and a semi in Winter Haven.

It happened on U.S. Highway 27 just south of the intersection with Cypress Gardens Boulevard around 3 a.m. on Wednesday.

Authorities say the semi was heading southbound on 27 and went through a green light at Cypress Gardens Boulevard. For unknown reasons, a sedan that was in the right-hand turn lane on Cypress Gardens Boulevard entered the intersection against a red light and crashed into the side of the semi's trailer.

The sheriff's office says Brandon White, 33, of Winter Haven, and Clarissa Cruz, 31, of Lake Wales, died after the sedan became lodged underneath the trailer. Deputies say the car was dragged for several hundred feet before the semi-driver was able to stop.

Deputies say the trailer and sedan caught fire while White and Cruz were trapped. They died at the scene.

The sheriff's office is investigating why White and Cruz entered the intersection against a red light.

The semi-driver was not injured. The southbound lanes of 27 were shut down completely for several hours.