Polk County Sheriff’s Traffic deputies are investigating a three-vehicle crash that occurred in Lake Wales last evening, which resulted in the deaths of three people.
Around 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 21, 2022, the PCSO Emergency Communications Center received 911 calls from the area of SR 60 East approximately one mile east of CR 630 East regarding a head-on collision between a black Nissan Pathfinder and a red Jeep Wrangler.
Preliminary information indicates that the Pathfinder, being driven west on SR 60 by an adult male, for unknown reasons entered into the eastbound lane and hit the Jeep Wrangler head-on, which was being driven East by 62-year-old Ashley Mansard of Port St. Lucie. The Jeep immediately caught fire after the collision, and Ashley and his passenger, Lori Mansard (52 years old, also of Port St. Lucie), were both killed. The driver of the Pathfinder was also declared deceased at the scene. Deputies are still trying to locate and notify his next of kin.
A black Chevrolet Impala that was heading east behind the Jeep and being driven by 27-year-old Jessica Duarte of Lakeland swerved to avoid the collision but the passenger side of her car struck the rear of the Pathfinder. She was transported to a local hospital due to complaints of back pain. None of her passengers was injured.
The roadways in that area were shut down for approximately three hours during the investigation, which is ongoing. I do not have a photo from the scene.