Deputies responded to a reported vehicle/pedestrian crash that occurred early this morning at approximately 2:45 a.m. on Skyview Drive and Goodyear Avenue. Polk County Fire Rescue also responded to the scene and found one pedestrian, 33-year-old Venus Drayton of Goodyear Avenue, in roadway of Skyview Ave, deceased, and another pedestrian, 16-year-old Tiara Johnson of Goodyear Avenue, with serious injuries—Tiara Johnson was transported to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center for treatment, where she later died. Drayton and Johnson were mother and daughter.
Based on interviews, analysis at the scene and evidence collected, detectives learned 33-year-old Nicholas Christie of Tampa was driving a white Dodge Ram pick-up truck eastbound on Skyview Dr. While driving eastbound, he said he observed what he thought was a trash bag in the roadway and attempted to swerve around it but was unsuccessful. Christie stated something did not feel right after he ran over the trash bag so he pulled over and drove back to the area. Once at the crash site, he said he learned he struck two pedestrians and awaited for law enforcement.
Christie consented to a blood draw and the rental vehicle he was operating was taken to crime scene to be inspected. Christie also consented to a search of the vehicle and nothing of evidentiary value was located inside the truck.
Friends who were with Drayton and Johnson prior to the crash reported Ms. Drayton (Johnson’s Mother) and Tiara Johnson (Drayton’s Daughter) were at their residence on Goodyear Ave. For an unknown reason, Johnson ran out of the house and Drayton ran after her. Shortly after leaving the residence, the friends heard the crash and went outside. They found both Drayton and Johnson were struck by a vehicle.
There are no criminal or civil charges expected at this time, pending a testing of Christie’s blood.