'We lost two beautiful babies,' sheriff says in sisters' minibike death in Bartow

Two children were killed Sunday when a minibike they were riding crashed into a pickup truck, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said.
Deputies said Charisma Vega, 12, and her sister Kiara, 9, were crossing Connersville Road near Wellington Place in Bartow when the truck struck the pair.
The children were taken to a hospital, where they later died.


The truck driver didn’t see the girls, deputies said.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a news conference that the girls were, “just out on a Sunday afternoon, having fun,” but the bike was not certified for the road.
“It was a horrible event,” Judd said. “They just came down Wellington and into the path of the truck,” Judd said.
The girls were not wearing helmets, deputies said.   
“Our deputies have been with the families and they are absolutely devastated,” Judd said. “The neighborhood is devastated, the EMS workers are devastated, law enforcement is devastated; we lost two beautiful babies.”   
Judd said there is no evidence of wrongdoing by the truck driver.

Watch Polk County sheriff's news conference below:

Traffic fatality in Bartow

The PCSO Traffic Homicide Unit is investigating a fatal crash involving two children in Bartow. On March 24, 2019, around 4:15 p.m., 12-year-old Charisma Vega and her sister 9-year-old Kiara Vega, were riding a small motor scooter on Wellington Place in Bartow when they entered onto Connersville Road and were struck by a Black Chevrolet pick-up truck. The driver of the truck, 23-year-old Danika Whitchard, was heading westbound on Connersville Road and did not see the girls. She immediately stopped after hearing a noise. Polk County Fire Rescue arrived on scene and started life saving procedures. The 9-year-old was airlifted to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center and the 12-year-old was transported by ambulance to LRHMC where both children were pronounced deceased. The children were not wearing helmets. Deputies do not see any clear evidence of wrong doing on behalf of the driver of the truck, however the investigation is still in the initial stages.

Posted by Polk County Sheriff's Office on Monday, March 25, 2019