LAKE PLACID — The driver and passenger of a pickup truck died from their injuries and the driver of another pickup was in critical condition after a four-vehicle crash early Sunday morning on State Road 70.
The driver of a pickup, an 18-year-old male from Sebring, and his passenger, a 21-year-old male from Lake Placid, died in the accident on State Road 70, 2 miles east of Park Land Drive, according to a report from the Florida Highway Patrol. The accident occurred at 1:30 a.m., Sunday.
Neither the driver nor the passenger in the pickup were wearing seatbelts, according to the report.
A second pickup truck in the accident was driven by an 18-year-old female from Lake Placid who was in critical condition, the report states. She was not wearing a seatbelt.
The accident involved a sport utility vehicle driven a 34-year-old male from Tallahassee who suffered minor injuries. He was wearing a seatbelt, the report showed.
Also in the accident, a sedan driven by a 40-year-old female from Stuart who suffered minor injuries. She was wearing a seatbelt the FHP report states.
The pickup driven by the 18-year-old male was traveling west on State Road 70, west of Old State Road 8, near mile marker 80, when it traveled off the roadway and collided with a tree and utility pole, according to FHP.
The pickup came to rest facing south in the eastbound travel lane of State Road 70. The SUV driven by the 34-year-old male was traveling east on State Road 70, approaching mile marker 80.
The front of the SUV collided with the right side of the pickup, which caused the pickup to overturn and come to rest in the westbound travel lane of State Road 70. The SUV also came to rest in the westbound travel lane of State Road 70.
The sedan driven by the 40-year-old female was traveling west on State Road 70, approaching the SUV. The front of the sedan collided with the right rear of SUV. The sedan overturned and came to rest on its roof on the south grass shoulder of State Road 70.
The second pickup driven by the 18-year-old female was traveling west on State Road 70, approaching mile marker 80. The front right of the second pickup collided with the right side of the first pickup and the right rear of SUV. The second pickup overturned and came to rest on its roof in the eastbound lane of State Road 70.
The driver and passenger of the first pickup truck were pronounced deceased at the scene, according to the FHP report.
The driver of the second pickup was transported to Tampa General Hospital in critical condition.
The crash remains under investigation, according to the report.
SEBRING — Highlands County added 28 more COVID-19 cases for a total of 8,579 and one more death for a total of 357 who have died due to the pandemic, according to the latest daily numbers from the Florida Department of Heath.
Statewide there were 3,977 new virus cases for a total of 2,266,575 and 65 new resident deaths for a total of 35,700 deaths of Florida residents. There have been 712 non-resident deaths for an overall total of 36,412.
From the 339 Highlands resident test results on Saturday, there were 27 positive for a positivity rate of 7.96% while the statewide daily positivity rate was 4.46%.
The county’s hospitalizations climbed one to 660. The Agency for Health Care Administration reported 20 people were hospitalized Saturday with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19. That was the second straight with four fewer hospitalizations than the previous day.
The top three Highlands County zip codes with the most cases are: 33870 (Sebring) with 2,306 cases, 33825 (Avon Park) with 2,127 cases and 33852 (Lake Placid) with 1,554 cases.
Around the Heartland: Glades had no new cases, DeSoto had 4 new cases and a testing positivity rate of 5%, Hardee had 11 new cases with a positivity rate of 16.67%, Hendry had 10 new cases with a positivity rate of 9.52% and Okeechobee County had 5 new virus cases with a positivity rate of 7.58%.
In South Florida, Miami-Dade County added 813 resident virus cases for a total of 483,355 residents who have tested positive, Broward County added 351 resident cases bringing its total of resident cases to 236,713, Palm Beach County added 228 resident cases for a total of 142,495 residents who have tested positive.
Orange County added 308 resident cases bringing its total of resident cases to 136,527.
Nationwide there have been 32,671,848 COVID-19 cases with 581,120 deaths.
Worldwide there have been 157,113,663 cases with 3,274,092 deaths.
SEBRING — To help fill an unusually high number of teacher openings the School Board of Highlands County will consider approving an employee referral program.
“We are looking for talented and dedicated teachers to join our team,” a proposed School District flyer states. “If you know someone who may be a great fit for HCSB, you could earn $200 for referring them, if they are hired.”
The program’s highlights state:
• Tell your friends about vacant teaching positions.
• Share on social media….have your friends and family share your post.
• Candidate completes employee referral incentive form listing you as the referral source (must be done before or during onboarding session).
• Candidate completes 90 calendar days of service.
• For every successful matched referral, you get $200.
The district looks to hire about 150 teachers for the 2021-22 school year, which includes filling vacancies due to retirements and resignations, but there are additional new positions to fill with CARES Act funding a number of educator positions to help students get back on track from the learning challenges caused by the pandemic.
The district is currently advertising for 22 elementary and 22 middle school teaching positions and 18 high school teaching positions.
Also, the district is advertising to fill three credit recovery summer school teaching positions and other summer school teaching positions.
According to the program flyer, the following must apply to the referred candidates:
• Must apply for the position online at www2.highlands.k12.fl.us/employment
• must hold or be eligible for a Florida teaching certificate.
• Must be hired by SBHC, sign a contract for the 2021-2022 school year, successfully pass background check and drug test.
The School Board of Highlands County will consider approval of the referral program at its next meeting at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, in the Garland Boggus Board Room, 426 School St. in Sebring.