LAKELAND, Florida (August 7, 2022) – On Sunday, August 7, 2022, at approximately 2:30 a.m., officers responded to a traffic accident near Memorial Boulevard and the Interstate 4 on-ramp. Prior to the accident, the driver of a 2005 Ford Expedition was traveling westbound on Memorial Boulevard. Approaching the on-ramp, the vehicle left the roadway, slid across a grassy median strip, and entered the eastbound traffic lanes. As the driver attempted to correct and negotiate the curve, the vehicle struck a raised concrete median, causing the SUV to roll over several times. The driver, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the vehicle.
The Lakeland Police Department Patrol Unit, Polk County Fire Department, and the Lakeland Fire Department arrived on scene and began lifesaving action. Ford driver Jeison Gutierrez, 20, of Plant City, and a 31-year-old passenger were transported to Lakeland Regional Health. The passenger, who was wearing a seat belt, was seriously injured, but not in danger of his life. Later that morning, Gutierrez succumbed to his injuries.
Members of the Traffic Homicide Unit responded to the scene and resumed the investigation. The causeway was closed for approximately four hours while the scene was processed for the ongoing investigation. Speed appears to be a factor in the accident. Toxicological tests will also be carried out.