SEBRING — Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday saw more than six crashes on local roads, some resulting in two people ejected from one car, another surviving a rollover, a pedestrian/cyclist hit and others hit trying to leave parking lots.
The worst took place just before 2:40 p.m. Thursday in what appeared to be a fatal crash on U.S. 27 at the junction with Lake Josephine Road between a minivan and a sport-utility vehicle.
The impact threw one vehicle up in the air, landing on its roof, and threw two occupants onto the ground. At least one is believed to have died in the wreck.
Sheriff’s office officials, reading from dispatch reports, confirmed two people were ejected in the crash and the road was completely closed at that time, with the possibility of getting northbound lanes reopened soon.
Florida Highway Patrol had a trooper en route from Hardee County, sheriff’s officials said.
Shortly after that, calls came into 911 Consolidated Dispatch for a pedestrian or cyclist hit on Sebring Parkway at Lemon Avenue in downtown Sebring. No reports on injuries were available as of press time for either of the two Thursday incidents.
Tuesday and Wednesday had seen four collisions, two of them rollovers and the other two from people attempting to exit parking lots into or across traffic. Fortunately, there were not fatalities.
State Road 66The first was at 8:10 a.m. Tuesday on SR 66 near Payne Road. A Sheriff’s Office traffic crash report said that 72-year-old Gail Jean Leavitt, eastbound in a blue 2008 Toyota Rav4, traveled off the road into the ditch, went airborne and hit a power pole.
The SUV rolled over and spun, reports said, landing on its wheels in the ditch, facing west.
Leavitt was transported to Highlands Regional Medical Center, reports said, and spoke to the Highlands News-Sun on Thursday. She had two dogs in the car with her at the time: a 75-pound German shepherd and a 65-pound Akita and German shepherd mix.
They didn’t have seat belts, although she did.
Fred Leavitt, her husband, said the front, top and side airbags probably saved her life.
He posted on social media that she was the victim of a hit and run driver from behind. She said she heard a big thud prior to going into the ditch and had another person tell her they had seen a truck, but had no further information.
“It’s just hard when you don’t know,” Gail Leavitt said.
However, deputies ruled the incident as a single-vehicle crash and found her at fault for failure to maintain her lane.
Doc SherwoodLater that morning, shortly before 10 a.m., a Jeep attempted a left turn across U.S. 27 at Doc Sherwood Boulevard and got hit in the side by another SUV.
The impact rolled the Jeep, spun the other car nearly 180 degrees, sent three people to local hospitals and blocked northbound lanes for approximately an hour.
Sebring Fire Department officials said people did not appear to be seriously injured. They were able to step out of the vehicles and walk to ambulances.
ParkwayA beginning driver is facing possible citations after attempting to turn her gray Jeep Cherokee left onto Sebring Parkway from a parking lot at the former Ruby Tuesday restaurant on Wednesday.
Sebring police report that shortly before 3:45 p.m. the 16-year-old apparently got waved forward by a driver who had stopped for her to cross traffic and head eastbound, but she didn’t see a westbound silver Scion xE, which hit her driver’s side front quarter.
“That driver didn’t see her until she was out in front of him,” Sebring Police Cmdr. Curtis Hart said.
Hart did not have names of the drivers or the young driver’s three passengers, which she was not allowed to have under a learner’s permit.
The crash is still under investigation, Hart said, but possible citations would include violation of the right of way and violation of the conditions of a learner’s permit.
LakeviewAnother driver attempted a turn onto a main road from a parking at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, Hart said, and also ended up getting hit.
Karyl Glessing, 76, of Sebring attempted to turn right onto Lakeview Drive in her red 2009 Mercury Milan from the Publix Super Market parking lot at Southgate Shopping Center. She reportedly did not see an oncoming black Jeep Wrangler Unlimited four-door heading toward downtown on that street.
The impact spun the Jeep 90 degrees and obliterated the front of the Mercury, but both Glessing and 21-year-old Jayda Amarosa, the driver of the Jeep, refused medical transport.
Hart said both cars were disabled and had to be towed. Glessing, he said, was called at fault for failure to yield the right of way and was given a written warning.