POINCIANA — Two men involved in a deadly car crash in Poinciana on Sunday night were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the collision, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office noted, while a 33-year-old Kissimmee woman died from injuries sustained in the accident.
The driver of a Chrysler van that collided with another vehicle had to be rushed to a trauma unit at Orlando Regional Medical Center, along with a 15-year-old boy, and neither one had a seat belt on, deputies note.
Polk County Sheriff’s Traffic deputies are still investigating the two-car crash that happened on Jan. 6 around 6 p.m. What’s known so far is that a black 2005 Chrysler van being driven by 41-year-old Alberto Vega of Poinciana was heading eastbound on Lake Marion Creek Road in Poinciana. The van came to the intersection of Poinciana Parkway, where it collided with a blue 1995 Volvo station wagon being driven on that roadway by 35-year-old Jessica Rodriguez of Kissimmee.
It’s not clear yet what cased the collision, noted Carrie Eleazer, public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, in her report on the case.
“Deputies are still investigating the directions of travel for both vehicles, and whether or not one of the vehicles violated the right-of-way of the other,” Eleazer notd.
Vega was transported via trauma alert to ORMA with serious injuries. Eleazer noted that deputies were able to determine that Vega had not been wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.
“He remains in critical condition,” Eleazer noted.
Fifteen-year-old Maxwell Vega, a passenger in Vega’s van, also got transported to ORMC with non-life-threatening injuries. He, too, was not wearing a seatbelt, Eleazer said, although he is expected to recover from his injuries.
The same is true for Rodriguez, who was driving the Volvo. She was transported by ambulance to Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center in Haines City. A passenger in Rodriguez’s car, 33-year-old Sherly Rosado Rosario of Kissimmee, did not survive the crash, though. She was also transported to Heart of Florida hospital, where she was declared deceased.
At this time, Eleazer said, it’s not clear if either woman had been wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.
Two other passengers in Rodriguez’s car — 52-year-old Edna Rosado and 51-year-old Carmen Rosario — were both transported to ORMC with serious injuries.
Rosado is in critical condition, while Rosario is in stable condition.
Eleazer said investigators have determined that airbags were deployed in both cars, and at this time, it doesn’t seem likely that either driver was impaired by alcohol.
“Blood samples were taken from both drivers for examination,” Eleazer noted. “However, at this time impairment does not appear to be a factor. The investigation is ongoing.”
Florida has a mandatory seat belt law, the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles notes.
“In a car crash, you are much more likely to be killed if you are not wearing a seat belt,” DMV notes on its Web site. “That is why Florida has seat belt laws.”
The law mandates that front seat passengers must wear seat belts, while children must be restrained by a child car seat.
“It is against the law to operate a vehicle if all the passengers do not meet these standards,” DMV notes. “Seat belts protect you from being thrown from a vehicle. If you are thrown from a vehicle, your risk of death is five times greater. By securing you in your seat, a seat belt protects you from being thrown into other people in the car and parts of your car. In addition, seat belts keep the driver in their seat so they can control the car.”
The Florida Highway Patrol frequently conducts “Click It or Ticket” campaigns aimed at getting drivers and front-seat passengers to wear seat belts, and to enforce the state’s seat-belt laws.
FHP estimates that safety belts save more than 13,000 lives each year.
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