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Polk sheriff: School secretary drove drunk before crashing into, killing man alongside I-4

She reportedly told deputies she recently left the bar, where she drank five or six beers.

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — A Lakeland woman, a secretary at a local elementary school, was allegedly driving drunk when she crashed her car into two others stopped alongside Interstate 4 and killed a man, the sheriff's office said.

The two vehicles were parked along the highway around 8:45 p.m. Wednesday near the W. 10th Street overpass as 46-year-old Lucretia Bruno came up from behind them, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office in a news release.

Just as the two other drivers were about to leave after getting involved in a minor crash, deputies say Bruno was seen driving erratically and drifting over the far-right line several times. The sheriff's office says she eventually drifted so far over and crashed into the driver's side of a truck whose owner was standing there.

The man fell on top of Bruno's windshield, only to land onto the bumper of the second car parked along the highway as Bruno's car crashed into that, deputies said. He died at the scene of the crash.

Witnesses apparently saw Bruno stumble from her car and steady herself by holding onto its trunk, according to the sheriff's office. She reportedly told deputies that she had just left the bar, where she drank five or six beers.

She faces charges of DUI, DUI with property damage, and DUI manslaughter. The sheriff's office says Bruno is a secretary at Padgett Elementary School. Its website lists her as the principal's secretary.

"There is never an excuse to drink and drive," Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement. "A family has lost a loved one because this woman decided to get behind the wheel of a car after consuming 5 or more beers. 

"There are so many alternative options available, from calling a friend [sic] or family member to using a ride-sharing application. Please, this holiday season, and throughout the year, don’t drink and drive."

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