The Polk County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit is working a seven-vehicle crash on SR 60 East in Lake Wales this morning.
Preliminary information indicates that at 6:00 a.m. this morning, two semi tractor-trailers were heading westbound in the outside lane on SR 60 East, near Logistics Parkway, when for unknown reasons, the second semi rear-ended the first semi. The second semi jackknifed in the road way. It had barrels of liquid used in orange juice concentrate loaded onto it.
When that crash occurred, an SUV that was also heading westbound in the outside lane, swerved into the inside lane to avoid hitting the jackknifed semi. The SUV was unable to avoid hitting the jackknifed semi, and crashed into it, and was then hit by a pickup truck and another semi that were heading westbound in the inside lane.
When the SUV struck the jackknifed semi, it caused barrels from the trailer to be ejected into the eastbound lanes of SR 60 East, and the barrels struck two vehicles that were heading eastbound.
The adult male driver and sole occupant of the SUV was transported to Lakeland Regional Medical Center. It was initially reported the man had very critical injuries.
The Saab SUV (the crumpled vehicle in the photo) was being driven by 46 yr old Christopher Ellis of Fort Meade. According to PCSO, he’s currently in stable condition and expected to recover.
The driver of the jackknifed semi was transported to Winter Haven Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The driver of the third semi, that was in the inside lane, was transported to Winter Haven Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
No other vehicle drivers or occupants were injured or transported.
The investigation is ongoing. Fog is still VERY HEAVY in the area. Motorists are asked to slow down, use headlights, and avoid this area completely.
SR 60 was shut down completely in this area. As of 2:30PM, only the westbound lanes were closed.