Man arrested, charged in deadly Polk crash - WFLA News Channel 8

Man arrested, charged in deadly Polk crash

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The Polk County Sheriff's Office arrested 21-year-old Edward Casey McCoy and charged him with three counts of DUI causing death.

Deputies say McCoy is the driver responsible for a deadly crash that killed three people in Polk County early Sunday morning, and claimed the life of a popular school bus driver.

An arrest report says that deputies drew blood from McCoy on the day of the accident, and that he had a blood alcohol content of .234.  Deputies also found a pipe in his clothing. The report says the pipe tested positive for marijuana.

The report says he had a bar tab at Bob's Bar in Mulberry from late Saturday night into the early Sunday morning. The electronic tab says he purchased six Bud Lights, four shots of Wild Turkey and a fireball. McCoy was also observed drinking by witnesses, according to the report.

The crash happened about 2:40 a.m. Sunday morning at the intersection of Coronet and Shepherd Roads just east of the Polk/Hillsborough County line.

Deputies say McCoy was driving a pickup truck when he sped through the intersection and slammed into a Chrysler Sebring.

Authorities said one of the deceased was Dorothy Operhall, a popular Polk County school bus driver who had worked for the district for 19 years.

Also in the car with Operhall, according to authorities, was 51-year-old Leonard Simmons, Operhall's boyfriend, who died in the crash.

Authorities say 48-year-old Melinda Helbig and her husband Bob Helbig were also in the vehicle.  Melinda died from her injuries, and Bob was hospitalized at Lakeland Regional Medical Center.  He was reported to be in good condition on Thursday night.

Authorities say McCoy suffered some broken bones in the crash.  He was booked into the Polk County Jail on Thursday evening and charged with three counts of DUI involving death, 3 counts of vehicular homicide, and other related charges.


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