Two Children Killed In Tragic Auto Accident In Auburndale
Auburndale, Florida – Around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 1, 2013, a grey 2006 Dodge Ram pickup truck being driven by 24-year-old Leighton Shane Hopper of West Lake Cannon Drive in Winter Haven was heading westbound on Havendale Blvd approaching the intersection with New Jersey Road, when it collided with a black 2006 Volkswagen Beetle being driven by 60-year-old Linda Hood Mercer of 607 Oak Street in Auburndale, which was heading southbound on New Jersey approaching the intersection of Havendale.
The two cars collided in the intersection. This intersection has traffic control devices. Preliminarily, according to witnesses, it appears Hopper had a red light but went through the intersection anyway.
Hopper’s truck rolled one complete rotation and landed right side up. Hopper was wearing his seatbelt and was transported to Winter Haven Hospital with minor injuries. He was the only occupant of his vehicle.
Mercer’s car crossed three lanes of traffic and came to a rest facing south on the south shoulder of Havendale. She was wearing her seatbelt and was transported to LRMC with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Mercer’s passengers and their conditions are:
14-year-old Audrey Mercer of Oak Street in Auburndale, seated in the front passenger seat, was wearing a seatbelt and did not have any significant injuries. She did not go to a hospital;
The passenger seated behind the driver in the back seat 10 year old Morgan Milligan of Malibu Drive in Lake Wales, was killed. The passenger in the middle of the back seat 10-year-old Mikalia Rojas of Oak Street in Auburndale, was also killed. According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office both children were not wearing seatbelts.
8-year-old Maleah Rojas of Oak Street in Auburndale, seated in the back seat behind the front seat passenger, was not wearing a seatbelt. She was airlifted to Tampa General Hospital and is in very critical condition.
The investigation is ongoing and charges are pending. The roadway was closed until approximately 11:30 p.m.