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Nine vehicles, one fatality in series of Polk County crashes

POLK COUNTY — A man was killed and another person critically injured in a series of crashes involving nine vehicles early Tuesday on U.S. 27 near Lake Wales, according to Polk County Sheriff's Office reports.

The crashes happened shortly before 5 a.m. in low visibility possibly due to fog and smoke from a nearby controlled burn, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Remnant smoke from a burn of 60 acres about 1.5 miles away on Monday and dense fog was reported in the area of the crashes around 4:53 a.m., Sheriff Grady Judd told Bay News 9.

Around 4:55 a.m. the Sheriff's Office got a call about a crash on U.S. 27, just south of Warner University.

Deputies found three separate crashes involving nine vehicles in the north and south lanes.

In the limited visibility, a semitrailer truck traveling carrying cheese south on U.S. 27 crossed the median into the opposite lane and struck a silver Ford Expedition and a motorcycle.

The motorcyclist, Frederick Wood, 47 of Frostproof died at the scene. He was not wearing a helmet.

The driver of the Expedition, Kevin Erb, 52, of Avon Park, was taken to a local hospital in critical condition.

Four vehicles, including a white Chrysler minivan, a sliver Toyota RAV-4, a burgundy Dodge Charger and a white Ford pickup truck, were all involved in a second crash in the northbound lane just south of the semi crash. All of the people in these vehicles were hospitalized, but no one was seriously injured.

Two more vehicles — a green Mitsubishi and a burgundy Ford Taurus — were involved in a third crash in the southbound lanes. Nobody was injured.

U.S. 27 was closed in both directions for several hours in the crash.

Nine vehicles, one fatality in series of Polk County crashes 03/06/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 8:07pm]
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