The Polk County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit investigated a two-vehicle crash in the intersection of US Hwy 27 and Cypress Gardens Blvd. in Winter Haven last night (Monday, August 23, 2021) that resulted in two fatalities.
Around 6:35 p.m., the PCSO ECC received 911 calls and several units responded to the scene, including PCSO deputies, Winter Haven Police Officers, and Polk County Fire Rescue. Upon arrival, the first responders located 45-year-old Tanya Chewning of Auburndale and her 13-year-old grandson, Curtis Handshoe (also of Auburndale) deceased inside a 2008 blue Honda Civic.
The occupants of the other vehicle, a 2020 white Jeep Renegade, had minor injuries and were transported to local hospitals. That driver, 44-year-old Tiffany Liles of Lake Wales, was heading southbound on US Hwy 27 in the center lane with her one-year-old granddaughter in the Jeep when the crash occurred.
Chewning was stopped at the traffic light on Cypress Gardens Blvd in the left turn lane to head north onto US 27. When the signal for traffic to turn left (north) onto US 27 turned green, Chewning proceeded forward and entered into her turn, crossing the southbound lane of 27. Liles’ traffic light was red at the time, but she failed to stop, and she struck Chewning’s vehicle on the driver’s side.
The investigation is ongoing. Curtis Handshoe was a student at Stambaugh Middle School in Auburndale. The roadways in that area were closed for approximately four hours.