Polk County deputy injured in fatal hit-and-run crash on State Road 60 in Lakes Wales

Posted at 6:59 AM, Oct 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-31 00:39:22-04

Polk County sheriff's officials are investigating a fatal hit-and-run traffic crash involving a Polk sheriff's deputy.

A Polk County sheriff's deputy and a 33-year-old woman were struck while standing in a grassy median shortly after 12:30 a.m. Saturday. The deputy suffered serious injuries, and the woman died after the hit-and-run crash.

Sheriff's officials are seeking the public's help to locate the vehicle that sped away from the fatal traffic crash on State Road 60 in the Lake Wales area. 

At 12:40 a.m. Saturday Polk County sheriff's Deputy Adam Pennell, who is assigned to the Southeast District, was heading westbound on State Road 60 enroute to a call for service when he saw a woman standing in the grass median.

Pennell stopped his patrol car in the inside lane of S.R. 60 between Sam Keen and Tiger Lake roads. He activated the patrol cruiser's emergency lights and stepped out of the vehicle to talk to the woman.

He discovered the woman identified as 33-year-old Jessica Enchautegui-Otero of Tampa had struck a tree and was injured.

Her vehicle, a gray 2009 Toyota Matrix, had left the road and ended up crashed against a tree. Enchautegui-Otero had walked out to S.R. 60 to flag down someone to help.

Deputy Pennell called for paramedics to respond to the scene to treat Enchautegui-Otero.

Before help could arrive, an unknown vehicle heading westbound on S.R. 60 left the road, tore through the grass median, struck Deputy Pennell and Enchautegui-Otero and fled the scene.

First responders found both victims lying on the grass and took them to area hospitals. Deputy Pennell was last listed in serious condition at Lakeland Regional Health hospital. Enchautegui-Otero was pronounced dead at Lake Wales Medical Center. 

Pennell was hired as a deputy sheriff in December 2013. He married another Polk County sheriff's deputy, Christin, in March. Pennell's father is a retired Polk County sheriff's sergeant.
Polk sheriff's investigators are asking anyone with knowledge of the hit-and-run crash or who may have seen something suspicious in the area of S.R. 60 and Sam Keen and Tiger Lake roads to contact the Polk County Sheriff's Office at (863) 298-6200.

There is a $3,000 cash reward from Heartland Crime Stoppers and Polk sheriff's office for information leading to an arrest in the fatal hit-and-run in Lake Wales. To remain anonymous, call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS (8477)