• FHP: Car driven by teenage boy was reported stolen before fatal crash

    By: Jason Kelly

    Updated:

    SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - A 22-year-old Maitland man died and a 17-year-old Oviedo boy was seriously injured Wednesday evening when the cars they were driving collided in an intersection in Seminole County's Fern Park neighborhood, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

    The crash was reported shortly after 9:30 p.m. at U.S. 17-92 and Lake of the Woods Boulevard near Casselberry, Sgt. Kim Montes said.

    Zion Counts was traveling north on 17-92 in a car that was reported stolen when he collided with a car being driven by Benjamin King, who was turning left onto Lake of the Woods Boulevard, Montes said.

    Troopers said as the light turned yellow, oncoming traffic began to stop and King made a left turn onto Lake of the Woods Boulevard.

    They said Counts did not stop and the two cars collided, sending King’s car into a pole.

    King died at the scene, Montes said.

    Photos: Fern Park fatal crash

    © 2019 Cox Media Group.
    © 2019 Cox Media Group.

    Read: Police: Fern Park man orders 9 Starbucks drinks, robs baristas

    Witnesses told investigators that the light was turning yellow.

    King's car was pushed into a pole and he died at the scene, Montes said.

    Counts was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center.

    Benjamin King
    Benjamin King
    © 2019 Cox Media Group.

    James King described his son to Channel 9 as a safe driver -- the safest of their family.

    "His life is over, and we never know that we have tomorrow," King said. "We have to treat each day as if it could be our last."

    King said the loss of his son is painful for all who knew him.

    "My son's girlfriend was following behind and saw the whole thing as they had left the gym and were headed home," he said. "She witnessed it, and she's very traumatized by it."

    Almost eight years ago, Benjamin King discovered 11-year-old Nadia Bloom, who had been lost in a wooded area near her home for four days. The story garnered national attention.

    Read: Watch: Man caught on camera lurking in Casselberry neighborhood, police say


    Watch footage of the crash scene below:


    Read: Police: 2 arrested in Casselberry road rage shooting

    King said he leaned on his faith while searching for Bloom and that his family continues to do so as they endure such a painful loss.

    "Ben was a very friendly and easygoing son," said Christine Shields, his mother. "Everybody that knew him loved him. If it wasn't for my faith in God, we wouldn't be able to get through this."

    Counts told investigators that a friend loaned him the car, but troopers said that's untrue.

    Charges are pending against Counts, including grand theft auto and driving without a license, Montes said. He was out on probation at the time of the crash, she said.

    Investigators said they're still trying to determine who's at fault, so Counts might not be charged in the crash, which remains under investigation.

    No other details were given.

    Read: Casselberry Sam's Club packed after closure announced

    Next Up: