Man trapped in submerged car in Winter Haven dies from injuries

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) –  A man has died after his car plunged into a Winter Haven retention pond Saturday, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

He was identified Saturday afternoon as 26-year-old Hakeem McGhee of Winter Haven.

The incident occurred in the area of Lucerne Park Rd and Hwy 27. around 6 a.m.

Officials said McGhee’s Buick sedan collided with a Mercedes 350 and went across the median and northbound lanes and into a retention pond on the east side of the highway.

Neither driver was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

Multiple units from the Winter Haven Fire Department came to the scene and found the sedan almost completely submerged in the water.

As the vehicle continued to submerge, Lt. Justin Riner and firefighter Jon Hinkle jumped into the 20 ft deep water. Riner punched out the back window and pulled McGhee to shore with Hinkle’s assistance.

While on shore, firefighter Roberto Morales and Lt. Medic Kyle Miller administered life-saving measures before McGhee was airlifted to Lakeland Regional Health where he later died.

It is unknown if impairment was a factor with McGhee, but his speed is being considered as contributing to the crash.

The investigation is ongoing.

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