Fatal Polk crash being investigated as possible homicide

Posted at 5:42 PM, Feb 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-10 17:42:18-05

One man is dead and three other people are in serious condition after a Polk County traffic crash Friday afternoon.

Polk County Sheriff's Office traffic homicide deputies are investigating a crash that happened at about 12:05 p.m. at Duff Road and Green Road. The intersection was completely shut down and is now open.

The investigation shows that a maroon Ford pick-up truck being driven by 36-year-old Peter Higgins of Lakeland was traveling westbound on Duff Road and ran through a red light at the Green Road intersection, colliding with a southbound white Nissan pickup truck being driven by 55-year-old Scott Davis of Lakeland.

Davis had a green light. 22-year-old Kimberlynn Hendrix of Lakeland was a passenger in the Ford Pick-up. 84-year-old Mr. Jack Cairnes of Lakeland was a passenger in the white pickup truck.

Cairnes died from his injuries. Higgins, Hendrix, and Davis have been transported to LRHMC and are all in serious condition.

Higgins has an extensive criminal history that includes 28 felony charges, 21 misdemeanor charges, 11 unknown level charges, and 1 failure to appear in court. He has been incarcerated in Florida State Prison five times.

Deputies have learned that Higgins admitted to a witness after the crash that he had taken methamphetamine the same morning.

"Higgins is a lawless thug. If anyone needs any evidence of the destruction that results from so-called nonviolent drug use, this is it. Methamphetamine and other drugs destroy people, families, and communities. And it often hurts innocent people who have nothing to do with the drug. Our hearts and prayers go out to Mr. Cairnes and his family and to Mr. Davis and his family. We will do everything we can to hold Higgins accountable for this tragedy." Grady Judd, Sheriff

The crash investigation is ongoing.