Fatal Traffic Crash Investigation
LAKELAND, FL - The Lakeland Police Department continues to investigate an early morning traffic crash at the intersection of East Memorial Boulevard (US 92) and Lakeshore Drive that resulted in two fatalities. On June 5, at approximately 12:39 am, Officer Jim Simon observed a tan, 2000 Cadillac sedan, commit a traffic violation in the Lakeshore Neighborhood area. While Simon was attempting to get the tag number of the Cadillac, it sped away for unknown reasons. Officer Simon was unable to catch up to the car to conduct a traffic stop before it ran a red light and struck another vehicle in the Memorial Boulevard and Lakeshore Drive intersection.
The Cadillac, driven by Cleon Truedell, crashed into the front passenger side of a blue 2017 Mitsubishi sedan driven by Linel Marie Vega-Ortiz. Vega-Ortiz was traveling westbound on Memorial Boulevard. The force of the impact caused the Mitsubishi to slide into a utility pole. The Cadillac hit a utility pole guide wire and cross-walk sign before rolling over just south of the intersection, landing in the roadway on Lakeshore Drive.
The Lakeland Police Department, Polk County Fire Rescue, and the Lakeland Fire Department all arrived on scene and began to provide life-saving measures. Linel Vega-Ortiz was pronounced deceased by on-scene medical professionals. Cleon Truedell was transported to Lakeland Regional Health where he later died at 1:30 am.
Members of the Traffic Homicide Unit responded and took over the investigation. The roadway was shut down for approximately 4 and a half hours. It is still unknown at this time why Truedell fled upon sight of law enforcement.
The investigation is still ongoing at this time.
The driver of the Cadillac was identified as
Cleon Nathaniel Truedell
Plant City, FL
The Operator of the Mitsubishi was identified as
Linel Marie Vega-Ortiz