POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd spoke Wednesday following the deaths of eight people in a number of unrelated fatal crashes throughout the county.
Sheriff Judd started the conference by saying, “In the last 44 hours, we’ve had eight people killed in vehicle crashed in this county.”
The sheriff detailed the latest deadly crash that happened early Wednesday morning when a 61-year-old motorcyclist died after his bike slammed into a pickup truck in unincorporated Lakeland.
Deputies said the biker left the VFW Post and made a wide turn to head south on US 98 North. His motorcycle crossed into a northbound lane and went into the path of an oncoming Ford F-150 pickup truck.
Sheriff Judd said he suspects the man consumed alcohol at the VFW Post before driving the motorcycle.
Sheriff Judd said a 35-year-old man is believed to be responsible for the crash.
“It was total carnage,” Sheriff Judd said. “It’s among the worst traffic fatalities we’ve seen in this county.”
The sheriff repeated that Polk County deputies offer a variety of safe alternatives for drivers who fear getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.
“Uber is cheap, a lot cheaper than the county jail and a DUI,” Judd siad. “A lot safer than the morgue where you can end up dead if you drink and drive.”
Judd added that drivers who can’t rely on “Tow and Go,” Uber, or a relative should call the sheriff’s office for a safe ride home.
“Give a brother a break and quit killing each other,” Judd said.
This is a developing story. Stay up to date on the latest from News Channel 8 on-air and on the go with the free WFLA News Channel 8 mobile app.