Plant City man dies after van splits in two during early morning crash

Published July 29, 2017

PLANT CITY — A 33-year-old is dead after a crash near the intersection of Pippin Road and Trapnell Road split his car in half just before 6 a.m. Saturday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

Emiliano Lopez Hernandez, of Plant City, was approaching Pippin Road in his 2001 Chevrolet Venture van when he tried to make a left turn in front of a car that had the right of way, deputies said. The other driver, 22-year-old Sean McLendon, also of Plant City, was approaching the intersection on Trapnell Road at about 55 mph.

Deputies said McLendon couldn't stop his 2010 Honda Accord and hit the van. The Chevrolet's rusted frame separated and the van split into two pieces, according to the Sheriff's Office. Deputies found Hernandez dead in the road, along with two people who were in the car.

The Sheriff's Office said it's unclear whether those in the car were ejected or pulled from the wreckage by a passerby. Deputies said Hernandez's two passengers were taken to Tampa General Hospital and Lakeland Regional Hospital with serious injuries.

McLendon was taken to Tampa General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Deputies do not suspect alcohol was a factor in the crash.