Two People Killed In Hwy 98 Crash
Lakeland, Florida – Polk County Sheriff’s Office Traffic deputies are currently investigating a traffic crash involving three vehicles with two fatalities. The crash occurred on Highway 98 North, in Lakeland between Rockridge Road and Socrum Loop Road. The roadway in this area is only two lanes.
At approximately 3:15 am, Sunday, December 22, 2013, a 2006, Black Toyota Scion, driven by 19-year-old Eric Rocco Russo, DOB 04/30/1994, Rolling Oak Drive, Lakeland, was traveling southbound on US 98 near Big Cypress Boulevard, Lakeland. Russo attempted to pass at least one vehicle also traveling southbound. As Russo was attempting to pass, he apparently saw a 2001, Gray Ford Mustang, driven by 17-year-old Jessica Lynn Carroll, DOB 11/22/1996, Creekwood Run, Lakeland, approaching northbound in the same lane. There were two passengers in the Mustang with Carroll; the right-front passenger was 40-year-old Rex John Brinker, DOB 09/08/1973, Deer Run Drive, Lakeland, and the left-rear passenger was 28-year-old Charles V. Parker, DOB 05/16/1985, Hunters Trail, Lakeland.
From the initial investigation, it appears Russo attempted to move back into the southbound lane, but struck the left rear of a 2000, Tan Cadillac Escalade, driven by 59-year-old Michael D. Haire, DOB 09/03/1954, Welsch Way, Lakeland.
Upon striking the Cadillac, Russo lost control of his vehicle and began to rotate clockwise into the northbound lane and into the path of Mustang driven by Carroll. The Mustang struck the Scion at an angle in the area of the driver’s door.
Both vehicles rotated after impact with the Scion coming to rest approximately twenty feet to the northwest of the impact location and the Mustang approximately thirty feet to the northeast of the impact location.
After being struck in the right rear, Haire lost control of the Cadillac and spun across both lanes, through a small drainage ditch, and came to rest approximately two hundred feet southeast of the crash location. The Cadillac had minor damage, neither Haire, nor his passenger, Marvella Haire were injured – both were wearing their seatbelts at the time of the crash.
Polk County Fire and Medic units responded to the scene. Russo and Parker both died at the scene. Carroll and Brinker were both transported to Lakeland Regional Medical Center by ambulance.
Russo was wearing a seat belted at the time of the crash and all the airbags in his vehicle deployed.
It is not known at this time if Carroll was wearing a seat belt. Brinker was wearing his seatbelt, but Parker was not. All the airbags in the Mustang also deployed.
The investigation is on-going.