Woman tragically killed when pickup truck slams into Lakeland home

The tragedy occurred at the home on Orange Valley Drive, near Fitzgerald Road.
The tragedy occurred at the home on Orange Valley Drive, near Fitzgerald Road.

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — A Polk County reverend’s wife was killed Thursday morning when a pickup truck slammed into the couple’s Lakeland home. Reverend Wyatt Folds wasn’t injured, but his wife, 76 year-old Janice was killed instantly.

The tragedy occurred at the home on Orange Valley Drive, near Fitzgerald Road.

According to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, the driver of the pickup truck, identified as 24-year-old Ryan Tallant of Plant City, lost control of the truck and “exploded” into the home. Tallant claims he was driving only 40 mph.

The truck slammed into a bedroom, killing Folds, and ended up in the kitchen of the home. Her husband, Rev. Folds said that he and his wife were going about their normal morning routine and then it was like a bomb went off in the home.

Judd says Tallant got out of the truck and was going to leave the scene, but was stopped by neighbors until the sheriff’s office arrived.

“That’s the Polk County I know, the real men here said ‘He ain’t going no place’. If he had tried to leave, there would’ve been problems for him. He would’ve been skinned up,” said Judd.  Tallant was given a field sobriety test that Sheriff Judd said he “failed miserably”.

Rev. Wyatt Folds and Janet Folds were married for 55 years, Judd says, but it “ended in blink of an eye in this terrible tragedy.”

“Tallant, with his recklessness, changed this beautiful family forever,” Judd says.

Tallant is charged with DUI Manslaughter, Vehicular Homicide, DUI Refusal-2nd or subsequent offense, and No Seatbelt.


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