3 killed, 1 critical after truck, car crash at Polk intersection

3 killed, 1 critical after truck, car collide, overturn at Polk intersection

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Photo via Polk County Sheriff's Office Photo via Polk County Sheriff's Office
LAKELAND, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

Three people were killed and two injured -- one critically -- early Sunday when a pickup truck slammed into a car at a Lakeland intersection, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.

At about 2:40 a.m., a beige 2000 GMC pickup truck driven by Edward Casey McCoy, 21, struck a red 2006 Chrysler Sebring at the intersection of Shepherd and Coronet roads.

A witness also at the intersection reported that the GMC was traveling at a high rate of speed. The force of the collision propelled both vehicles approximately 150 feet north through the intersection and caused both vehicles to overturn, the Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

The Sebring's driver, Dorothy Operhall, 56, of Mulberry was dead at the scene. Also dead were passengers Melina Helbig, 48, of Rochester, Pa., and Leonard Simmons, 51, of Mulberry. Robert Helbig, Jr., 50, of Rochester, Pa., was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center in critical condition.

All in the Sebring were wearing seat belts.

McCoy was determined to be at fault in the crash. He was taken to LRMC with broken bones. Impairment appears to be a factor, deputies said. Charges against McCoy are pending final toxicology results and the medical condition of the surviving victim. The investigation is ongoing.

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