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Mother, 2 Children 8 & 10 Years Old Critically Injured In Lakeland Vehicle Vs. Pedestrian Crash

On Sunday, January 15, 2023, at approximately 8:55 p.m., officers responded to a traffic crash near Socrum Loop Road and Fernery Road in Lakeland. Preliminary evidence shows that just prior to the crash, a 1996 Ford Explorer was traveling southbound on Socrum Loop Road, approaching the area of Fernery Road, when three pedestrians, an adult female and two children, darted into the roadway directly in the path of the SUV. The driver applied the brakes and attempted to avoid the pedestrians but was unsuccessful and struck all three.

The Lakeland Police Department Patrol Unit, Polk County Fire Rescue, and the Lakeland Fire Department arrived on scene and began providing life-saving measures. Both children were transported to Tampa General Hospital via helicopter, and the adult was transported to Lakeland Regional Health for treatment. All appeared to have critical injuries at the time of transport. As of this morning, no additional updates have been received on their conditions. The driver of the Ford suffered no apparent injuries.

Members of the Traffic Homicide Unit responded to the scene and took over the investigation. The roadway was shut down for approximately three hours while the scene was processed for the ongoing investigation. Neither speed nor impairment appears to be a factor in this crash.

This remains an open investigation. If anyone has any additional information regarding the crash, please contact investigating Officer Tyler Anderson at [email protected]

The SUV operator was identified as:

Jimmy Kasapis 

Age 20

Lakeland, FL

The pedestrians were identified as:

Catherine DeClaire (mother)

Age 36

Ruskin, FL

Child one

Age 10

Ruskin, FL

Child two

Age 8

Ruskin, FL

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