At 1:27 p.m. on Friday, March 5, 2021, the PCSO ECC received a 911 call about a single-vehicle crash involving an ejection and fire on Imperial Lakes Blvd in south Lakeland (Mulberry). The driver, 25-year-old Baylee Simpson of Mulberry, was deceased upon arrival of first responders. No other vehicles were involved, and she was the sole occupant of the 2016 silver Toyota Yaris.
Preliminarily, it appears that Simpson was driving south on Imperial Lakes near Opal Drive when she struck the rear of a red Cadillac SUV. After hitting the SUV, she fled the scene northbound on Imperial Lakes. While operating her car at a high rate of speed, she failed to negotiate a left to right curve near the 4900 block, drifting into the center turn lane and then onto the grass median. The car went another 100 yards north in the median before striking an oak tree, ejecting Simpson. The engine was also propelled out of the car and into the southbound lanes. After impact, the car caught on fire and became engulfed in flames, which also burned Simpson.
The southbound lanes of Imperial Lakes were closed for approximately three hours; the northbound lanes were closed for six hours