Investigators from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office believe dense fog contributed to an early Monday morning crash, which included six vehicles and closed down the southbound lanes of US 17 (south of Carlton Road) for about seven hours.
The crash occurred at about 6:34 AM, Monday, February 28, 2022. Among the vehicles involved were: a semi with trailer, an ag-worker bus, two pickup trucks, and two sedans, one of which belongs to the PCSO Department of Detention.
The ag-worker bus was carrying 36-passengers at the time of the crash.
Based on evidence and witness statements, it was determined that the semi-tractor and trailer, driven by 35-year old Jeffrey Banks of Orlando, pulled out of a cement facility from the west side of US 17 and crossed the southbound lanes while attempting to make a left turn to travel north. The other five vehicles, which were in the southbound lanes, struck the trailer and/or other vehicles involved.
All but one of the injured victims were treated and released from the hospital. The exception was Eduardo Maldonado, a passenger on the bus, who remains hospitalized with facial injuries, but stable.
No criminal charges are expected, but civil charges are pending the completion of the crash investigation.