A Lakeland man is dead after a crash this afternoon on U.S. 98 North in Lakeland, according to Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
About 12:40 p.m., a 2012 International semi driven by Bradley Hake, 49, of Ocala was northbound on U.S. 98 North near Old Soldier Road. Meanwhile, a 2012 Ford F-150 pickup driven by Christopher Johnson, 57, of Lakeland was southbound on the same highway.
For unknown reasons, the pickup drifted across the center line and into the path of the semi, deputies said. Hake tried to avoid a collision, but was unsuccessful. The trucks collided on the left front of their vehicles. The pickup truck spun and came to a rest facing north in the southbound lane. The semi truck continued off the right shoulder and stopped in a shallow ditch.
A private ambulance belonging to American Medical Services ran off the roadway to avoid hitting the stopped pickup. The ambulance driver, 43-year-old Hubert Akers of New Port Richey, checked the pickup and found Johnson was dead.
Neither of the other drivers received injuries.
The roadway was closed as diesel fuel from the semi was cleaned up, deputies said, but it has reopened.