3 killed, 2 children seriously injured in head-on Pasco crash

Pasco County

The Florida Highway Patrol says three people were killed and two children were seriously injured in a crash in Pasco County on Sunday.

The two-car crash happened on County Road 54 in Zephyrhills just after 7 p.m.

Troopers say 30-year-old Elvin Benitez was driving his Mazda west when he got into the eastbound lane to pass other traffic. According to an FHP report, that caused a head-on collision between his car and a Toyota Camry.

The Mazda spun after the crash and flipped over. The Toyota also spun off the road and hit a wire fence.

Benitez was thrown from his car during the crash, according to FHP investigators. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Both people in the Toyota, 38-year-old Dennis Wilkes and 27-year-old Chrisstina Farmer, were also killed in the crash.

Two of Benitez’ passengers, an 11-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl, were seriously injured.

News Channel 8 spoke to a woman who arrived at the scene moments after the crash. She tells us she saw two cars in the ditch on the side of the road. 

People who frequently drive on County Road 54 agree you have to be careful when you are on it – especially in the rain.

“I used to drive a school bus up and down this road for almost nine years,” said Christy Prince of Lake Wales. “It is a very very dangerous road. There are a lot of cars that exceed the speed limits. They pass each other on this lane because it is a two-way highway. It is a shortcut between Polk County and Pasco County so a lot of people travel on this road. It is very dangerous.”

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