7-vehicle crash closes SR 60 in Polk, spills barrels of OJ onto road

Polk County Sheriff's Office photo

LAKE WALES, Fla. (WFLA) – State Route 60 is closed in the Lake Wales area after a 7-vehicle crash sent three people to the hospital and caused barrels of orange juice concentrate to roll onto the highway.

Motorists are being asked to avoid the area completely.

Investigators with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office say around 6 a.m., two semi tractor-trailers were heading westbound in the outside lane on SR 60 east, near Logistics Parkway, when for unknown reasons, the second semi rear-ended the first semi.

The second semi jack-knifed in the roadway. It had barrels of liquid used in orange juice concentrate loaded onto it.

When that crash happened, an SUV that was also heading westbound in the outside lane, swerved into the inside lane to avoid hitting the jack-knifed semi. The SUV was unable to avoid hitting the jack-knifed semi, and crashed into it, and was then hit by a pickup truck and another semi that were heading westbound in the inside lane.

When the SUV struck the jack-knifed semi, it caused barrels from the trailer to be ejected into the eastbound lanes of SR 60 east, and the barrels struck two vehicles that were heading eastbound.

The adult male driver and sole occupant of the SUV was transported to Lakeland Regional Medical Center in extremely critical condition.

The driver of the jack-knifed semi was transported to another hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the third semi, that was in the inside lane, was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

No other vehicle drivers or occupants were injured or transported.

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