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Updated Details Regarding Crash That Killed Polk County Firefighter/Paramedic

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Homicide Unit is investigating a single-vehicle crash that occurred on November 18, 2023, at approximately 5:29 a.m., on the westbound side of Interstate 4 between U.S. Highway 27 and Old Grade Road in Polk City. When Deputies and Polk County Fire Rescue personnel arrived at the scene, the fire engulfing the car, a 2007 gray Toyota Camry, was extinguished and the driver, 41-year-old Brian Herr of Spring Hill, was found inside deceased.

Evidence at the scene and witness statements indicate that Herr was traveling west in the inside lane of I-4 and beginning to transition to the middle lane at the same time an unknown vehicle was beginning to transition to the middle lane from the outside lane. Herr swerved back into the inside lane, and the unknown vehicle swerved back to the outside lane. At this time, there is no evidence or indication there was any impact between the vehicles, and a witness behind the two vehicles confirmed that.

As Herr swerved back into the inside lane, his car began to hydroplane and spin in a counterclockwise direction, entering into the center grass median of the interstate, at which time the passenger side of the car struck a large grouping of trees. The car then immediately became fully engulfed in flames.

At the time of the crash it was dark, the roadway was wet, and there was very little ambient lighting in the area.

Two westbound lanes of Interstate 4 were closed for approximately 4 hours.

The crash investigation is ongoing.

author avatar
Carl Fish

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