Passenger killed in Frostproof crash after 17-year-old swerves to avoid bird, deputies say

Polk County

Polk County Sheriff’s Office

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Polk County deputies say a 17-year-old driver was trying to avoid a bird in the road when he swerved and crashed his SUV killing his passenger.

The crash happened just before 2:30 p.m. on U.S. 98 West near Old Stokes Road in Frostproof. The only vehicle involved was the driver.

According to the preliminary investigation, the 17-year-old was driving on US 98 West and told investigators he swerved to avoid striking a large bird in the roadway. The vehicle went off of the south edge of the road and struck a concrete culvert, went airborne, hit the ground nose-first, then flipped several times.

The teen was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash and was taken to AdventHealth Sebring.

The adult passenger was not wearing one at the time of the crash. Investigators say 45-year old Mary Ruiz of Sebring, was taken to Lakeland Regional Health where she died.

An investigation is ongoing.

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