MULBERRY, Fla. — A man living in the country illegally faces charges related to a deadly crash on State Road 60 in the Mulberry area, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.
The crash happened around 5:41 a.m. Tuesday on SR-60 near the intersection of Pine Grove Road in Willow Oak near Mulberry.
A Bartow High School senior, who the sheriff's office identified as Karissa Rutherford, was on her way to school when an SUV, driven by 24-year-old Elmer Bryan Giron-Canil, turned in front of the teen's red pickup truck. Deputies said it appears the teen was driving east on SR-60 in the inside lane at the same time Canil was driving west on SR-60 and entered the left turn lane.
While attempting to turn south onto Pine Grove Road, deputies said Canil pulled in front of Rutherford, causing the SUV to hit the passenger side of the truck.
The collision caused both vehicles to spin and ejected four of the seven people inside the SUV out onto the road and near the treeline, the agency said.
A 33-year-old man died at the scene. Later, a second passenger — a 62-year-old man — died at the hospital from his injuries.
All other passengers in the SUV were taken to the hospital for treatment. The sheriff's office says one person is in "critical-unstable" condition, one is in "critical-stable" condition and two others are in "stable" condition.
Rutherford was airlifted to Tampa General Hospital for her injuries. She had a "significant" broken leg but is otherwise doing well, authorities said.
Now, Giron-Canil faces six counts of negligently operating a motor vehicle and causing serious injury or death to a person while not possessing a driver's license and one count of driving without a valid license. Giron-Canil, who currently lives in Mulberry, is reportedly from Guatemala and is living in the country illegally.
“Not only is Canil in the country illegally, but his criminal actions have cost two people their lives and caused catastrophic injuries to others. Our prayers are with the victims and families affected by this horrific crash," Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement.
Canil was also treated for minor injuries at the hospital and then was arrested and taken to the Polk County Jail. The sheriff's office said an immigration detainer has been completed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after it was confirmed Canil was not in the country legally.