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Friday, Sep 21, 2018
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Head-on crash kills three, injures two children in Zephyrhills

ZEPHYRHILLS — Three people were killed and two children were seriously injured in a head-on collision that took place Sunday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The crash took place about 7 p.m. on County Road 54, west of Chantel Drive.

Elvin Benitez, 30, of Zephyrhills, was driving a 2015 Mazda 6 west on CR 54 with two young children on board when the FHP said he attempted to pass traffic on the two-lane road.

So he entered the eastbound lane, troopers said — and drove into the path of an eastbound 2005 Toyota Camry.

The Mazda struck the Toyota head-on, the FHP said.

The crash sent the Toyota spinning into a wire fence. The driver, Dennis Wilkes, 38, of Lakeland, and passenger Chrisstina Farmer, 27, of Winter Haven, were both killed in the collision, the FHP said. Both were wearing their seat belts.

The Mazda overturned in the crash, ejecting Benitez. He was also pronounced dead at the scene, troopers said. He was not wearing his seat belt.

The two children in Benitez’s car were both seriously injured in the crash. John Arel, 11, was taken to Lakeland Regional Hospital and Jasmine Benitez, 6, was taken to Tampa General Hospital. Both children were wearing their restraints.

Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the crash, troopers said.

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