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Fatal Crash / South Florida Avenue

LAKELAND, FL (July 16, 2022) - On Friday, July 15, 2022, at approximately 11:46 p.m., officers responded to a traffic crash near the 4200 block of South Florida Avenue. Just prior to the crash, a 2019 Toyota Highlander was turning left from Doris Drive, attempting to cross South Florida Avenue to travel northbound. At the same time, a Suzuki motorcycle was traveling southbound on South Florida Avenue. While entering the roadway, the Toyota crossed into the path of the motorcycle, and the two vehicles collided. Following the crash, the driver of the Toyota fled the scene on foot.
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 operator of the Suzuki, a 46-year-old male, was transported to Lakeland Regional Health, where he succumbed to his injuries a short time later.
The driver of the Toyota, 39-year-old Michael Angelo Diaz, returned to the scene approximately 30 minutes after the crash. He was immediately arrested, charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving a death (F1), and transported to Polk County Jail. Toxicology tests were administered, and results are pending. The investigation is ongoing.
Members of the Traffic Homicide Unit responded to the scene and took over the investigation. The roadway was shut down for approximately five hours while the scene was processed for the ongoing investigation. If anyone has any additional information regarding the crash, please contact investigating Officer Tyler Anderson at tyler.anderson@lakelandgov.net.
The name of the victim is being withheld in accordance with Marsy's Law.