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5 Yr Old Killed & Two Adults Injured After DUI Suspect From Bartow Reportedly Crossed The Centerline Causing Crash

A 5-year old child was killed just after midnight Friday morning, June 7, 2024, and two other people suffered serious injuries, as a result of a three-vehicle crash in Auburndale.

The driver who caused the crash, 24-year old Robert Harrison of Bartow was treated and released from the hospital, and arrested by Traffic Homicide Investigators from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Harrison has been charged with: DUI Manslaughter (F2), DUI Serious Bodily Injury (F3, 2-counts), DUI Property Damage (M1, 2-counts), DUI (M2), and Violation of Probation (Trespassing).

Polk County Fire Rescue, Auburndale Fire Department, and deputies from the PCSO were dispatched to the crash at 2101 42nd Street NW in Auburndale at about 12:11 AM.

Upon the arrival of first responders, the 5-year old child was found deceased, with full body trauma. She was identified as Madeline Nichols of Auburndale. She was an occupant of a black 2017 Dodge Caravan, along with 32-year old Jacqueline Nichols of Auburndale (driver) and 33-year old Justin Jones of Winter Haven.

Ms. Nichols suffered head trauma and internal bleeding, and was listed in critical, but stable condition.

Mr. Jones suffered head trauma and multiple spinal fractures, and was also listed in critical, but stable condition.

According to the detectives’ preliminary investigation, Harrison’s blue 1997 Ford F350 was traveling north on 42nd Street NW when it crossed the center lane and entered the path of Ms. Nichols’ southbound Dodge Caravan.

Immediately following the collision, a white 1990 Ford pickup truck, driven by 21-year old Aaron Delgado of Eagle Lake, struck Harrison’s Ford truck. Mr. Delgado was not injured.

Harrison admitted to a PCSO detective that he had been drinking alcohol prior to the crash. He provided two breath samples for testing, and the results were a Breath Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.119 and 0.122 (the legal limit is 0.08).

Harrison is currently in the Polk County Jail.

The roadway was closed for approximately four hours.

author avatar
Carl Fish

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