Deputies from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and members of Polk County Fire Rescue (PCFR) responded to a fatal, two-vehicle crash Tuesday night around 9:45 p.m., July 20, 2021, on Old Dixie Highway at the intersection of the Polk Parkway eastbound exit ramp in unincorporated Auburndale.
When first responders arrived, both vehicles were on fire. PCFR extinguished the fire and located the motorcycle driver deceased.
Also involved in the crash was 52-year-old William Wendel of Auburndale, who was uninjured. Mr. Wendel was driving a black 2016 Dodge Ram pickup truck.
The evidence and witness statements revealed that Mr. Wendel was turning west onto Old Dixie Highway from the Polk Parkway eastbound exit ramp. At the same time, the motorcycle was traveling eastbound on Old Dixie Highway with no lights on and at a high rate of speed. The motorcycle collided with the driver’s side quarter panel of the pickup truck. Both vehicles became fully engulfed in flames at the moment of impact.
The identity of the driver of the motorcycle is not being released at this time pending next of kin notification. He was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
Old Dixie Highway was closed in both directions for approximately four hours.
The crash remains under investigation.