HOMELAND — A mother and daughter were killed in a deadly crash on Monday that involved a car being driven by the mother’s 14-year-old, unlicensed daughter.
It happened at 4:36 p.m. on Monday, when a car being driven by the 14-year-old girl led to a serious three vehicle crash. The driver’s mother and eight-year-old sister didn’t survive.
It’s not known why the 14-year-old was driving the vehicle.
“Unfortunately, a 14-year-old unlicensed teenager was driving a car and turned left on a green light into the path of another car, which subsequently resulted in the deaths of her mother and her sister,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
On Monday afternoon, Polk County EMS got a call about a multi-vehicle crash in Homeland. Within eight minutes, the first EMS unit arrived on the scene, while two other Polk County ambulances, the Fire Departments from Bartow and Fort Meade, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Patrol and Traffic deputies, and Aeromed all responded as well.
What’s known so far is that a white 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt, being driven by 14-year-old Destiny Ensslin of Fort Meade, was heading northbound on U.S. 17 in Homeland, between Bartow and Fort Meade.
Suddenly the girl turned westbound onto County Road 640. That turn put her vehicle directly in the path of a silver 2005 Dodge Caravan being driven southbound on U.S. 17 by 77-year-old Doris Foust of Fort Meade.
Both cars crashed, and the collision caused the Dodge Caravan to roll over and land on its driver’s side.
“Doris and her front seat passenger, her husband 80-year-old Richard Foust, were transported by ambulance to Bartow Regional Medical Center with minor injuries,” noted Carrie Eleazer, public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. “They are expected to make a full recovery.”
Eleazer said it’s not known why Destiny Ensslin made that fatal turn.
A third vehicle also collided at the accident scene. The driver of a red 2001 Toyota Corolla had been attempting to make a turn from C.R. 640 southbound onto U.S. 17, but the vehicle being driven by 56-year-old Martha Criswell of Fort Meade instead crashed into the other two.
Criswell was driven by car to Bartow Regional Medical Center for minor injuries, and is also expected to make a full recovery.
Destiny Ensslin was airlifted to Lakeland Regional Medical Center with critical injuries, and is listed in stable but critical condition.
The front seat passenger, her 42-year-old mother Dawn Ensslin, was taken to Bartow Regional Medical Center with extremely critical injuries, and died at the hospital.
The rear seat passenger, her 8-year-old sister Delaney Ensslin, was declared dead at the scene.
“This is a tragic situation, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Ensslin family,” Judd said.
Jack Jerkins, the older brother of Dawn Ensslin, issued a statement on Tuesday on behalf of the family of Dawn and Delaney Ensslin, which read “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those who were involved in this tragic accident. We’d like to express our heartfelt thanks for the outpouring of support from the community. We ask that you please respect our privacy now as we mourn the untimely loss of our loved ones.”
The investigation into this crash, Eleazer said, is ongoing.
“I don’t have confirmation on the drivers’ or passengers’ use of seatbelts,” she said. “However, nobody was ejected from any of the vehicles.”
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