6-year-old Polk Co. boy killed in crash initiated by sleeping driver, deputies say

Polk County

Photo: Polk Co. Sheriff’s Office

LAKELAND (WFLA) — A 6-year-old boy was killed in a two-vehicle crash in Lakeland Tuesday morning after one driver said he fell asleep at the wheel, deputies said.

Polk County deputies responded to the crash at U.S. 98 and Wallace road around 6:50 a.m.

The boy killed in the crash was identified as Liam Earley of Bartow, Florida. Deputies said he was ejected from the truck and killed by head trauma.

Liam was one of two children in the vehicle, which was being driven by a 38-year-old woman. The driver and the other child, an 8-year-old boy, survived the crash.

According to investigators, the Ford Ranger Liam was in and a Toyota Corolla were traveling north on US 98 when witnesses say the Corolla began drifting back and forth across lanes. The left front end of the car struck the right rear of the Ranger, causing the truck to spin out of control and turn over.

Deputies said Liam was ejected from the truck and landed on the shoulder of the road. The driver of the Corolla, 38-year-old Jose Clemente, reportedly told deputies he fell asleep while driving.

The northbound lanes of US 98 were closed for approximately four hours while detectives investigated the crash.

Charges are pending completion of the investigation.

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