The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fatal crash involving an ATV that happened New Year’s morning, January 1, 2023, in unincorporated Lake Wales that resulted in the death a Sebring man.
Deputies from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and crews from Polk County Fire Rescue were dispatched at about 3:20 a.m. to the 300 block of Lake Kotsa Drive.
Upon arrival, they found 36-year-old Christopher Mears deceased.
Based on evidence and statements taken at the scene, it was determined that Mr. Mears had been driving a 2017 Honda ATV in the area with friends. He traveled southbound on Lake Kotsa Drive and failed to negotiate a right hand curve causing the ATV to enter a drainage ditch. Mr. Mears was thrown from the ATV and landed in the shallow water of the ditch where it appears he drowned.
Deputies found an empty beer can at the scene, and there was a strong smell of alcohol on Mr. Mears.
Excessive speed and impairment appear to be factors in the crash.
The roadway was closed for approximately three hours during the investigation, which remains on-going. I do not have a photo from the scene.