LAKE WALES, Fla. (WFLA) – Polk County deputies say they need your help following a fatal hit-and-run crash that occurred on State Road 60 in the Lake Wales area involving a vehicle that struck a PCSO Deputy Sheriff and a citizen in the grass median.
A $3,000 reward is offered for information that would lead to the driver’s arrest.
The deputy, identified as Deputy Sheriff Adam Pennell, 25, has been transported to Lakeland Regional Hospital with serious injuries, and the citizen, identified as Jessica Enchautegui-Otero, 33, of Tampa was taken to Lake Wales Medical Center. She was pronounced dead, according to the sheriff’s office.
At 12:40 a.m. Saturday, Deputy Pennell, who is assigned to the Southeast District, was en route to a call heading westbound on SR 60, between Tiger Lake and Sam Keen roads. He saw a citizen standing in the grass median of SR 60. Officials say Deputy Pennell stopped his patrol car in the inside lane of SR 60, activated his emergency lights, and got out of the car to talk to Enchautegui-Otero. He learned she had struck a tree and had injuries from the crash – the vehicle was off the roadway against the tree, deputies say, and she had walked out onto SR 60 to flag someone down for help.
Deputy Pennell called for EMS to respond to the scene to treat her, when an unknown vehicle heading westbound entered the median and struck them both, and then fled the scene, according to a spokesperson with PCSO.
The sheriff’s office does not have any information about the suspect vehicle and deputies are hopeful someone will have information about this as the vehicle will have front-end damage. A sheriff’s spokesperson says Deputy Pennell has a broken pelvis and other broken bones but should recover.
Reinaldo Enchaultegui, the father of the woman who died in then crash, said Jessica was a sweet and hardworking girl.
“She was a sweet girl. She was hard working. Working for her kids,” he said. “This is the second one I’ve lost this month. My son passed away the second of this month, now my daughter in the same month. Too much for me.”
The woman’s son Kenneth Pazanski said he just didn’t know why this had to happen.
“She took care of us, she supported us, she gave us clothes, she put a roof over our head, and she was just an awesome mother,” he described her.
There is a $2,000 CASH REWARD from Heartland Crime Stoppers for information leading to an arrest in this crash. Heartland Crime Stoppers can be reached at 1-800-226-TIPS (8477) or www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com.
The following statement is being sent out on behalf of Deputy Sheriff Adam Pennell’s wife, Christin:
Our prayers are with the family of Jessica Enchautegui-Otero, and we remain hopeful that with the public’s help we will find the person responsible for killing her and severely injuring Adam. We appreciate everyone’s support while Adam faces upcoming surgery for his injuries, and we ask for your privacy and your prayers. More than anything we hope the suspect is found. Please join us in keeping Jessica’s family and loved ones in your prayers during this extremely difficult time.
Adam was hired as a deputy sheriff in December 2013. Christin was hired as a clerical assistant in 2011, put herself through the law enforcement academy, and became a deputy sheriff in May 2014. She and Adam were married in March 2016.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said:
We are confident that with the community’s help, we will identify and arrest the coward who ran over a deputy and a young woman and left them both for dead, and then fled the scene. We will work day and night until this case is solved. And to the coward who did this – we advise you to turn yourself in, sooner rather than later