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Fatal Crash Blocking Traffic On I-4 In Polk County

Davenport, Florida – At approximately 5:00 am, on Sunday, January 08, 2017, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Communications Center (ECC) received a report of a crash near mile marker 53 on Interstate 4. 
Deputies and Polk County Fire Rescue responded and found one person deceased – an adult male who had exited his car at the time of the crash and was struck by another vehicle involve – 74-year-old Joseph P. Riley of Lake Alfred.

The roadway at this location is six lane interstate with paved shoulders and a grass median. A wire barrier separates the eastbound and westbound lanes. The speed limit on this section of roadway is 70 mph. It was dark at the time of the crash with no illumination beyond vehicle headlights. Traffic was relatively light with traffic spaced out for large distances. 

Through the investigation, deputies learned there were two separate crashes involved in this incident.

The initial crash involved a 2017, blue Hyundai, driven by 54-year-old Tammy Ann Riley of West Virginia.  Riley was traveling eastbound on I-4 near mile marker 53. Riley told deputies she was in the center lane and did not see another vehicle when she was stuck from behind.  Riley told deputies she came to a controlled stop on the right shoulder approximately 300 yards from the point she was struck.

Deputies learned the vehicle which struck Riley’s Hyundai was a 2016 gold, Mazda driven by 25-year-old Lori E. Jones of Orlando.  Jones told deputies she didn’t see the Hyundai before striking it from the rear.  After impact, the Mazda’s airbags deployed and her car stopped in the eastbound left lane.  Jones said while still inside her car, she felt the Mazda being struck from behind pushing it onto the left shoulder approximately 60 feet farther east where it came to final rest.

The vehicle which struck Jones’ Mazda was a 2011, red Ford Focus driven by 74-year-old Joseph P. Riley of Lake Alfred (No relation to Tammy Riley). The Ford Focus sustained significant damage to the front, also causing all lighting to stop working. It came to final rest mostly in the inside lane, but just over the lane line separating the inside and center lanes. At this time Mr. Riley exited his vehicle.

After exiting his vehicle, Mr. Riley was on foot on the left (north) side of his car in the area of the left (inside) lane and road shoulder. At that time a 2013, white BMW, driven by 57-year-old Peter A. Moran was eastbound in the inside lane when he saw debris in the road and began taking evasive action and steering right.

He then saw the Ford Focus in his path of travel and steered sharply to the left to avoid it. He passed to the left of the Ford Focus, but struck Mr. Riley as he was attempting to avoid the vehicle. Mr. Riley was carried a short distance on the hood of the BMW until rolling off and coming to final rest in the median on the north side of the wire barrier in the center of the median.

The BMW came to a controlled stop near the center of the media approximately 75 feet past the Ford Focus. Mr. Riley died at the scene.

All vehicle occupants appear to have been seat belted. The airbags in Jones and Mr. Riley’s vehicles deployed.

The airbags in the other two vehicles did not deploy, but did not suffer significant front end damage.

Impairment, driver fatigue and driver distraction are being investigated.
Interstate 4 was reduced to one lane of travel eastbound for approximately 5 hours at the scene of the crash. 

author avatar
Staff Reporter

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