Polk County

Deputies: Toddler killed, 5-year-old injured in Polk County DUI crash

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — A toddler died and a 5-year-old was seriously injured in a single-vehicle crash in Polk County early Wednesday. Deputies arrested the driver, accusing her of driving under the influence.

Polk County deputies said Guadalupe Najera Santana, 30, lost control of a truck, crashed through a barbed-wire fence, and struck multiple pine trees.


When first responders arrived at the scene at the junction of Deen Still Road and Old Grade Road, about 10 miles north of the city of Lake Alfred, deputies said they found the toddler dead, the 5-year-old with a fractured neck, and several beer cans in and around the truck.

Investigators said the toddler was not in a child safety seat, and it’s unknown whether the 5-year-old and Santana were wearing seat belts.

Read: Woman charged with 2nd-degree murder after Polk County deputy shot, killed

“It is absolutely maddening, with so many other options available, that someone would choose to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The result of this woman’s poor choice is the death of one child, and the very serious injury to another child,” Sheriff Grady Judd said.

Deputies said Santana admitted to detectives that she had consumed several beers earlier in the evening.

Read: ‘Exceptionally tragic’: Sheriff: Polk County deputy, 21, fatally shot while serving warrant

Santana is charged with DUI manslaughter, negligent child abuse, DUI serious bodily injury, DUI with property damage, DUI, and driving with an expired license.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.