An accident turned fatal in Walden Lake last Friday when a man lost control of his vehicle near the Emerald Forest subdivision.
A man was killed Friday evening in Walden Lake after losing control of his vehicle near Emerald Forest.
At approximately 11:02 p.m. a man, who had entered the Walden Lake community from the Trapnell gate and was driving northbound, lost control of his vehicle. Plant City Police Department said the exact reason for losing control is unknown, however they believe he was going above the listed speed limit.
His truck drifted and the left tires struck the median curb. When the driver attempted to steer back toward the center of the lane, he overcorrected, went into the grass median and hit the concrete culvert, shattering it into several pieces. The impact of the collision sent his truck airborne where it subsequently flipped and landed on the roof at the entrance to the Emerald Forest subdivision, according to PCPD.
The driver was not wearing a seatbelt and the momentum of the crash caused him to be partially ejected from the side window.
PCPD spokesman Sgt. Al Van Duyne said the driver received massive injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Speeding through Walden Lake has been an issue PCPD has warned against for years. The tight curves and abundance of adjacent roadways make cautionary driving a must to keep both drivers and pedestrians safe.
While the exact details of what occurred seconds prior to the crash are not currently known, Van Duyne said looking at the evidence at the scene and the damage done to the concrete barrier in front of the culvert, which acts as a massive drainage system for Walden Lake, indicates the driver never really applied his brakes when he slid off the road.
“When we were there we saw flat spots of when the tires went through the culvert,” Van Duyne said. “It’s in pieces. That can only really happen if you’re going at a high rate of speed or if you’re going maybe 40 (mph) or 50 (mph) on the listed 30 (mph) roadway, but you’re not breaking at all. It definitely was too fast for what he needed to do.”
Whether you’re a Walden Lake resident and have driven the roads a thousand times or are simply passing through and are unfamiliar with the roadway, it’s crucial to stick to the low speed limit. Van Duyne said its posted for a reason and the winding road, coupled with the minimal street lighting, can add up to a dangerous drive if you’re not paying attention.
“This is a true story, I’ve driven through Walden Lake 5,000 times in 20 years, but Friday night they had those reclaimed water sprinklers on and even though I was driving the limit, I lost traction for a second,” Van Duyne said. “If I was going super fast I might have lost control. People need to slow down. There’s street lighting, but it’s minimal. You don’t know if around a curve you’ll find a fallen branch, a child, an animal. You won’t get a ticket for doing 20 (mph) to 25 (mph). Just slow down.”
Though police arrived on the scene immediately, Van Duyne said they were on site until nearly 3 a.m. Most traffic along the roadway and in and out of the subdivision continued to flow without an issue, however, Van Duyne said there were two instances when they had to block the roadway to allow for the medical examiner to come in and later to allow Brewington Towing Company to remove the truck.