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Fatal Crash Investigation

LAKELAND (February 21, 2021) - On Sunday, February 21, 2021, at approximately 3:40 a.m., officers responded to a traffic crash involving a single vehicle on Sleepy Hill Road. According to reports, a 2008 Ford Expedition was traveling eastbound on Sleepy Hill Road, approaching the intersection with Kennedy Boulevard, when the driver lost control of the vehicle and struck a tree in the median. 
The Lakeland Police Department Patrol Unit, Polk County Fire Rescue, and the Lakeland Fire Department all arrived on the scene and began to provide life-saving measures. The driver, 17-year-old Javier Benito, did not survive the crash and was pronounced deceased at the scene. The female passenger, also age 17, was transported to Lakeland Regional Health with what appeared to be non-life-threatening injuries.
The roadway was shut down for approximately six hours while the scene was processed for the ongoing investigation. Excessive speed does appear to be a factor in this crash.