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Lake Wales
Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Emergency Crews Working Fatal Crash Involving Semi Vs Compact Car On S.R. 60 & Walk In Water Rd. Lake Wales

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The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a two-vehicle crash that happened Monday afternoon, December 12, 2022, in unincorporated Lake Wales that resulted in the death a Frostproof woman.

Deputies from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and crews from Polk County Fire Rescue were dispatched at about 1:20 p.m. to S.R. 60 and Walk In Water Road.

Upon arrival, they found 80-year-old Caroline Lanker of Frostproof deceased.

Ms. Lanker was the driver of a white 2012 Toyota Prius. The second vehicle involved in the crash was a white 2022 Freightliner semi-truck and trailer driven by 36-year-old Hans Laine of Pompano Beach, Florida. Mr. Laine was transported to a local hospital where he was treated for minor injuries and then released. His passenger was uninjured.

Based on evidence and statements taken at the scene, it was determined that Mr. Laine was driving eastbound on S.R. 60 in the inside/left lane. Ms. Lanker was at the intersection of Walk In Water Road when she attempted to turn westbound onto S.R. 60. As she crossed the inside lane of S.R. 60, the front of her Prius struck the semi-truck.

Excessive speed, distracted driving, and impairment do not appear to be factors in the crash.

S.R. 60 in the area of the crash was closed for approximately three hours during the investigation, which remains on-going

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