US 27 Closed by Multi-vehicle Crash
Seventeen Vehicles Involved in Crash
Last updated 10/3/2023 at 9:24am
New details are slowly emerging after the huge pileup crash Thursday evening at the intersection of US 27 and Chalet Suzanne Road in Lake Wales. "Several people were injured" in the crash, according to police, with at least one with injuries described as "life-threatening."
The intersection remained closed for several hours as investigators and emergency medical personnel worked the scene.
According to investigators and eyewitness accounts, a Chrysler 300 attempted to make a left turn across the path of a Mack Truck. Both vehicles were northbound when they collided, according to a Lake Wales Police Department statement.
The driver of the truck, owned by Pemberton Truck Lines, then apparently lost control of his vehicle, passed through the intersection and a portion of the median before crashing into stopped southbound traffic waiting at the traffic light. The impact sent cars spinning "like bumper cars," according to a witness.
More than a dozen emergency response units and at least six ambulances were included in the emergency response, and three victims were evacuated by helicopter to area hospitals. Lake Wales, Polk County, and Winter Haven Fire Department rescue crews also responded.
Lake Wales resident Lakeshia Clark was stopped at the light waiting to turn toward her home off Chalet Suzanne Road when the event unfolded. She was left shaken after narrowly dashing out of the way of the oncoming truck.
"I heard this loud noise and looked up and saw this truck coming right at me. I hit the gas and swerved into the left lane just in time, It ended up lying right where I had been waiting. My heart came out of my chest I was so scared!"
Witnesses pointed out that the timing of the light had left southbound traffic stopped, which greatly reduced the force of the impacts.
Lake Wales News.Net will contiue to monitor the incident and will update this story as details emerge.