Mulberry, Florida - A Polk Co. School district bus driver was among the 3 people who were killed in an early morning crash in Mulberry.

The accident happened at the intersection of Coronet Road and Sheppard Road at around 2:40 Sunday morning.

Dorothy Operhall was traveling in a red Chrysler Sebring, along with her boyfriend Leonard Simmons, Melina Helbig and Robert Helbig, the only person to survive the crash.

According to police, the crash happened when a GMC pickup truck, driven by Edward McCoy, ran a stop sign, slammed into the Sebring - causing both vehicles to flip upside down.

"Polk County School Board has lost a valuable employee and we're going to miss her," said Lilly Wasp, Operhall's co-worker.

The 56-year-old is survived by her three children and five grandchildren.

"My grandma was a happy person. She was my bus driver and she loved all her grandchildren a lot," said Kiersten Johnson, Operhall's Granddaughter.

All of the occupants of the Sebring were wearing their seatbelts. The occupants of the Sebring are related to each other - two of the people in the car are siblings (brother and sister) but at this time we are unclear which two.

The Helbigs were here visiting from Pennsylvania. They were returning to the Operhall/Simmons home from the Hard Rock Café in Tampa when the crash occurred.

Charges against McCoy are pending final toxicology results and the medical condition of the surviving victim.

The roadways were closed for about eight hours, and have been re-opened.

The investigation is ongoing.

Read or Share this story: