POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A driver who slammed a city truck into the Fort Meade office of State Rep. Melony Bell was smoking K2 at the time, a spokesman for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office says.
The crash happened Tuesday morning. Bell, a former county commissioner, was not inside the building on West Broadway at the time.
One of Bell’s aides is grateful she was running late and stopped to get coffee. Her desk sits at the front of the building.
“If I was standing right there at that door opening it, where the truck was, it would have crushed me. There’s no telling what could have been. I think about my kids,” said Kara Lucas.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office first believed the driver, 21-year-old Waylon Skinner, may have experienced some kind of medical episode at the time of the crash. Spokesman Brian Bruchey now says Skinner admitted to deputies he was smoking K2, a synthetic marijuana, while driving.
Bruchey says charges are pending lab results.
“It’s unfortunate the he made the decision to drive under the influence of an illegal drug. I’m thankful he was not severely injured and he didn’t hurt anyone else,” Rep. Bell said in a statement. “I’m also glad he is taking responsibility for his actions so now it will be up to our judicial system.”
Skinner works for Fort Meade’s Streets department. He has been working for the city for less than 6 months, according to Fort Meade City Manager Danielle Judd.
“We do have a drug free workplace policy and we do go through that process with new hires and he went through that process,” said Judd.
Judd declined to comment on the new information regarding the synthetic marijuana.
Rep. Bell has a decades-long connection to the historic building.
She worked as CPA in the building in 1979 and was proud to take it over as a state lawmaker last year.
“To see the building is destroyed, it makes me so sad. I feel like I came in full circle being able to work here in Fort Meade again,” said Rep. Bell.
She is hoping her team can move back in to the building at some point. In the meantime, important items have been moved into city hall.
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