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Saturday, May 26, 2018
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Three dead, two injured after car-truck crash in Lakeland

LAKLAND Three people are dead and two are injured after two vehicles collided at a Lakeland intersection early Sunday, Polk County deputies said. A 2006 Chrysler Sebring stopped at a stop sign on eastbound Shepherd Road, at the intersection with Coronet Road, the sheriff’s office said. A witness in another vehicle was stopped at the stop sign on Coronet Road facing southbound.  As the witness moved through the intersection, the Chrysler began to move forward as well, but then the witness was forced off the road by a 2000 GMC pickup that was going fast northbound, according to the sheriff’s office.
The pickup truck collided with the Sebring, propelling both vehicles 150 feet north through the intersection, and causing both vehicles to flip onto their roofs, deputies said. The pickup driver, Edward Casey McCoy, 21 of 4435 Old Government Road in Lakeland was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center with several broken bones, deputies said.  Charges are pending, deputies said. The car's driver, Dorothy Operhall of Mulberry, died at the scene. Her common-law husband, Leonard Simmons, who was in the back seat, also died at the scene. Front-seat passenger Melina Helbig of Rochester, Pa., also died at the scene. Her husband, Robert, was hospitalized in critical condition. He also had been sitting in the back seat. All four people in the car were wearing seatbelts.
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