At around 6:15 a.m. this morning, March 15, 2022, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to a vehicle crash involving a Winter Haven Police Department patrol car and a pedestrian on a skateboard. The crash occurred in the eastbound right turn lane on Cypress Gardens Blvd. at Helena Road in Winter Haven.
The WHPD marked patrol car is a 2017 Ford Taurus and was driven by 32-year-old Officer Brian Jimenez-Morales. The pedestrian is 21-year-old Symon Bruce Uhl-Miller of Haines City.
According to the investigation so far, Officer Jimenez-Morales was traveling eastbound on Cypress Gardens Blvd. responding to a call for service. Officer Jimenez-Morales entered into the right-hand turn lane for Helena Road when Mr. Uhl-Miller skated in front of the patrol car where he was struck. Mr. Uhl-Miller was propelled onto the hood of the patrol car, hit the windshield, and then rolled off the hood and into the bicycle lane.
Officer Jimenez-Morales stopped, immediately called for Polk County Fire Rescue to respond, and began life-saving measures on Mr. Uhl-Miller.
Mr. Uhl-Miller was transported to the hospital where he is in critical condition.
The vehicle’s emergency lights were not activated at the time of the crash and there is no evidence that the patrol vehicle was exceeding the marked speed limit. The crash was witnessed by other motorists who provided statements to the Traffic Unit. The investigation is ongoing.
Mr. Uhl-Miller was not wearing a helmet or any other protective gear or reflective materials. It was dark at the time of the crash.
Eastbound Cypress Gardens Blvd. was closed for approximately 4 hours during the investigation, which is ongoing.