published: Friday, March 22, 2013
Driver in fatal crash charged
By BARRY FOSTER
SEBRING -- Polk County sheriff's officials have charged Jeffery A. Harris of Lake Placid with driving while license suspended or revoked causing death.
The 21-year-old Lake Placid man was believed to have been at the wheel of a Nissan four-door that went across the median of U.S. 27 near Cypress Gardens Boulevard on Wednesday, colliding with two other vehicles.
The Wednesday evening crash claimed the life of 20-year-old Suyleyka Najera, also of Lake Placid.
Polk County Sheriff's officials say Harris had been released from the Lake City Correctional Facility earlier that day and was heading back to Lake Placid.when he lost control of the car.
The car went into the northbound lane of U.S. 27 and collided with a Nissan sport utility vehicle driven by 39-year-old Raquel Fox of Reunion.
The force of the impact caused the SUV to flip. Harris' car then was hit by a Saturn Vue, driven by Royce Pierson of Lake Wales.
Harris was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center. Authorities say when he recovers, he will be taken immediately to the Polk County jail.
Fox and her 16-year-old son, Rashad, were transported to Heart of Florida Hospital in Haines City. The 81-year-old Pierson and his 79-year-old wife Constance also were taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center.
Deputies say it appears Najera was the only person involved in the crash that was not wearing a seat belt.
Additional charges against Harris are pending and they say the investigation is ongoing.
"Traffic laws are no different than any other law we have in place, they are there for a reason - to keep people safe," said Polk county Sheriff Grady Judd. "If you violate the law and hurt someone, you will go to jail, period."
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