POLK COUNTY, FL (WFLA) – Three people died in a car crash and fire in Polk County early Saturday morning, according to the Polk County Fire Rescue.
It happened at Spirit Lake Road and Sheffield Road near Winter Haven. PCFR received the call about a car engulfed before 3:30 a.m. According to PCFR, the 2015 Chrysler 200 caught on fire after hitting a tree. After putting out the fire, firefighters confirmed three fatalities.
According to Polk County Sheriff’s Office investigators, the Chrysler was going very fast, traveling southwest on Old Bartow Eagle Lake Road east of Spirit Lake Road. Investigators said, while turning left on Spirit Lake Road, the driver’s side tires of the car left Old Bartow Eagle Lake Road on the left shoulder and traveled through the grass and onto Spirit Lake Road.
The car kept going southwest across Spirit Lake Road where it hit a drainage ditch, according to the PCSO press release. It went airborne and struck a large oak tree about 50 feet off the roadway. It rotated and stopped near the tree. Officials believe the car caught fire with the occupants still inside and was completely engulfed when a passing driver saw it.
The people in the car were incapacitated on impact. According to PCSO, the two people on the front were wearing seat belts, the person in the back was not. Investigators couldn’t determine because of the fire if the airbags had deployed.
Investigators said the high speed may have been the reason for the crash.
Officials closed the Spirit Lake and Sheffield intersection for about six hours following the crash.
Stay with WFLA for more on this developing story.