POLK COUNTY, Fla. -- A 76-year-old Lakeland woman has died and a driver is in custody after an overnight crash in Lakeland.
Polk County Sheriff's Office identified the victim as Janice "Jan" Folds, who was killed when a pickup truck plowed through her home at 5404 Orange Valley Drive. Folds' husband Wyatt is a retired pastor at Redeemer Church of Lakeland.
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Deputies arrested the driver, Ryan Tallent, 24, who has a lengthy history of traffic related charges, including a DUI charge in 2009.
PCSO Sheriff Grady Judd said that Tallent was speeding on Fitzgerald Road when he lost control and slammed into the house, going through three rooms at a high speed. Judd said that Tallent may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol after Tallent failed a field sobriety test.
"When you run your truck into someone's home, their sanctuary, you've murdered them with your truck, and we're going to hold you accountable," Judd said.
After the crash, Tallent reportedly got out of the car and confronted Wyatt, who was not injured in the collision. He said that he had to leave early to go to a family member's house. Neighbors who came to help intervened and detained Tallent until authorities arrived.
People who were close to Folds well said she was a sweet lady. They said she was very involved at several churches, and always wanted to help others.
"I don't know what to think," neighbor Burton Fite said. "Just a very sad, tragic situation that shouldn't have happened."
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