The Polk County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Homicide Unit is investigating a two-vehicle fatal crash that occurred this morning, Saturday, September 17, 2022 in unincorporated Lakeland.
At around 6:30 a.m., PCSO deputies and members of Polk County Fire Rescue responded to the scene of the crash near 12656 U.S. 98 North. This area of U.S. 98 is a two-lane road.
According to evidence and witnesses at the scene, 49-year-old Giovany Reyes of Lakeland was backing a black 2005 International semi-truck and tanker trailer into a residential driveway on U.S. 98 North. The truck and trailer’s lighting was activated and other motorists in the area yielded to the semi-truck and trailer.
83-year-old James Simpson of Havana, Florida was driving a white 2002 Chevrolet 1500 south on U.S. 98. At the same time, Mr. Reyes was maneuvering the semi-truck and tanker into the driveway, and when the front of the tanker and rear of the semi reached the west shoulder of U.S. 98, the roof of Mr. Simpson’s truck collided with the tanker.
Mr. Reyes was uninjured.
Mr. Simpson was transported to a local hospital where he died from his injuries.
Witness told detectives that Mr. Simpson was not speeding and did not slow down nor attempt to avoid crashing into the semi-truck and tanker. Impairment is not suspected as a cause. The roadway was closed in the area of the crash for about three hours during the investigation, which remains on-going.