UPDATE on traffic crash fatality that occurred yesterday on Cypress Gardens Blvd in Winter Haven:
This crash is still under investigation. Any charges, if applicable, are pending the completion of the investigation. Deputies also still have to interview all parties and process evidence to determine why Garcia crossed over into the other lane.
Nannette Garcia is in critical but stable condition in the hospital, and is expected to recover.
Nick Beri is stable in the hospital and is expected to recover.
Sophia Beri was treated and is expected to be released from the hospital.
An autopsy will be conducted on the deceased victim, Sandeep Beri.
Original PCSO Press Release:
Polk County Sheriff’s Office traffic homicide deputies are investigating a two-vehicle crash that occurred today at approximately 11:58 a.m. on Cypress Gardens Boulevard just west of U.S. Highway 27. According to witnesses and evidence gathered at the scene, the preliminary investigation suggests that 22-year-old Nannette Cruz Garcia of Orlando was driving east bound on Cypress Gardens Boulevard in a 2003 Toyota Corolla. For unknown reasons she crossed over the raised median on Cypress Gardens Boulevard and struck a 2007 PT Cruiser being driven by 15-year-old Nick Beri of Winter Haven head-on. At the time of the crash, Nick Beri was traveling westbound on Cypress Gardens Boulevard in the outside lane of travel. Both vehicles left the roadway and came to final rest in the culvert on the north side of the roadway.
There were two other occupants of the PT Cruiser: 57-year-old Sandeep Kumar Beri (front passenger seat, father of Nick) and 7-year-old Sophia Beri (rear passenger seat, sister of Nick), both also of Winter Haven. Nick Beri has a learner’s permit driver’s license and was operating the car legally.
It has been determined that Garcia was not wearing her seatbelt at the time of the crash. All the occupants of the PT cruiser were properly seat belted in and airbags deployed in both vehicles.
Sandeep Kumar Beri was transported to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center where he was declared deceased as a result of injuries sustained in the crash. Nick Beri was transported to LRHMC and is being treated for injuries; he is in stable condition. Sophia Beri was airlifted to Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando because of her age; she is listed in stable condition with minor injuries and overall body pain. Nannette Cruz Garcia was transported to LRHMC and is being treated for serious injuries and is in critical condition.
Cypress Gardens Boulevard was closed during the investigation for several hours. The roadway was re-opened at approximately 4:10 p.m.
“We don’t know why Ms. Garcia crossed over the median and into the path of the Beri family we will determine that during our investigation. I was at the scene this after noonthis was just a devastating crash. It is a reminder for all of us to drive safely and remain aware of our surroundings while driving. Our sympathies and prayers go out to the Beri family for their loss.” –Grady Judd, Sheriff