2 deadly crashes reported on New Year’s Day in Polk County

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Law enforcement is asking drivers to use more caution in the new year after two people died Saturday afternoon in Polk County in two separate crashes.

The first crash occurred around 4:05 p.m. on U.S. Highway 27 just south of Bella Citta Boulevard.

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Polk County deputies said 83-year-old Davenport resident Helen McDonald was heading south on U.S. Highway 27 when she lost control of her car.

McDonald crossed the grass medium and all northbound lanes of U.S. Highway 27 before crashing into a power pole.

She was taken to a hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

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Another crash then occurred around 40 minutes later at 4:46 p.m. on South Crystal Lake Drive in Lakeland.

Police said 45-year-old Lakeland resident Tara Mercier was attempting to turn left on to South Crystal Lake Drive from U.S. Highway 98 South when she crossed into the path of an SUV that was traveling north.

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The driver of the SUV, 52-year-old Lakeland resident Michael Monroe, was killed in the crash.

Four other passengers in the vehicles, including a six-year-old child, were hospitalized with serious injuries.

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