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Crash With Dump Truck Takes Life of Lake Wales Woman

Canal Road, Lake Mable Road Scene of Crash and Closure

A traffic crash with a loaded dump truck took the life of a local woman Tuesday afternoon in an unincorporated area of Lake Wales.

Courtesy Polk County Sheriff's Office

An upended dump truck and a crushed Toyota marked the scene of a fatal crash Tuesday in Lake Wales. Minerva Cruz, 79, of Lake Wales was killed in the impact.

Polk deputies and Polk Fire Rescue responded to the emergency call around 2:30 p.m. from the rural intersection of Canal Road and Lake Mabel Loop Road. They found one person deceased at the scene.

Minerva Cruz, 79, of Lake Wales, was the driver of a 2011 Silver Toyota Yaris that apparently entered the path of a 2020 Kenworth dump truck loaded with sand that was heading north on Lake Mabel Loop. Cruz was stopped at the stop sign on Canal Road when she entered onto Lake Mabel Loop to turn left (south) and into the path of the dump truck.

The impact killed Cruz and caused the dump truck to flip onto its side after the driver, Oriol Bernal, 60, of Kissimmee, swerved and braked to avoid striking Cruz. Bernal had minor injuries and was also transported to the hospital.

A passenger in Cruz's vehicle, Confesor Lopez, 77, was transported to a local hospital with critical injuries. Both victims resided at Porter Drive in Lake Wales, just north of Canal Road and only about a mile from the scene.

According to PCSO Traffic Homicide Unit, all parties were wearing seat belts. The crash left the roadway closed for approximately three hours during the investigation.

 

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