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2 dead in Lakeland crash

5:21 PM, Dec 22, 2013   |    comments
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Lakeland, Florida -- The Polk County Sheriff's Office is investigating a traffic crash involving three cars that killed two people.

The crash happened on Highway 98 North in Lakeland between Rockridge Road and Socrum Loop Road.

According to investigators, a 2006 black Toyota Scion driven by 19-year-old Eric Russo was traveling southbound on U.S. 98 near Big Cypress Blvd. when it attempted to pass another car heading southbound by getting into the northbound lane.

A 2001 gray Ford Mustang driven by 17-year-old Jessica Carroll was reportedly approaching in the northbound lane.

Investigators say Russo attempted to move back into the southbound lane, but struck the rear of a 2000 Cadillac driven by 59-year-old Michael Haire. He then lost control of his vehicle and rotated clockwise into the northbound lane and into the path of Carroll's car, causing it to hit the Scion.

After being struck, authorities say Haire lost control of the Cadillac and spun across both lanes, through a small drainage ditch, and came to a rest approximately 200 feet southeast of the crash's location.

Neither Haire nor his passenger were injured. Both were wearing seatbelts.

Russo and a passenger in the Mustang, 29-year-old Charles Parker, died at the scene. Carroll and another passenger, 40-year-old Rex Brinker, were taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center.

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