POLK COUNTY, Fla -- Two young girls are dead after a crash in Bartow.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says 12-year-old Charisma Vega and 9-year-old Kiara Vega were riding a mini-bike around 4:15 p.m. Sunday afternoon in the neighborhood area of Connorsville Road and Wellington Place when they left the neighborhood and drove into the path of an incoming truck.
Paramedics started CPR on the girls. They were airlifted and taken to Lakeland Regional where they died from their injuries.
Sheriff Grady Judd said the driver of the black 2019 Chevy Z71 pickup truck never saw the children. According to Judd, the driver “heard a horrible sound,” got out of the truck and discovered the horrible tragedy. He says the driver appeared to be driving the speed limit.
The Sheriff's Office said the initial investigation found no clear evidence of any wrong-doing on behalf of the driver. According to deputies, an independent witness saw it all happen.
Authorities says the mini-bike was an off-road vehicle that was not certified to be on the roadways.
“We lost two beautiful babies today, 9 and 12-years-old,” said Judd and he asked for prayers for their family and for the driver who hit them. He says the driver is a mother herself and is devastated by what happened.
Judd said the mini-bike is a type of toy that should have been operated on a dirt field and never on the roads.
They also are not meant for two passengers.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office also says anyone under 21 must be wearing a helmet when riding a bike or motor bike.