Tragic Polk County Car Crash Leaves One Dead, Five Hurt

An auto accident involving two vehicles occurred on Tuesday morning around 8:30am outside of Mulberry, Florida, near the Polk-Hillsborough County border. The driver of a 1998 Ford Explorer, proceeding westbound, passed a car illegally on CR-640.

The driver, identified as 19-year-old Timothy Hammock, crossed the double yellow line in an attempt to overtake a slower moving vehicle. Timothy almost immediately lost control of his vehicle and swerved back into the oncoming lane.

His SUV then smashed into a white 2008 Ford Pickup head-on.

The crash’s sole fatality was a passenger in Hammock’s SUV, identified as 19-year –old Heather Layton of Plant City, Florida. Accident investigators determined that Heather was not wearing her seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle after the initial impact.

Hammock and the 3 remaining passengers, Jeffrey Surbaugh, Holly Bowman, and Derrick Wilkerson, were all airlifted to local hospitals with serious injuries. Bowman was also ejected from the vehicle, but was not killed. All 3 passengers remain in area hospitals where they are all still listed in critical condition.

The driver of the Ford Pickup was James Clark IV, from Riverview, Florida. Clark was also airlifted from the accident scene with serious injuries.

CR 640 was completely shut down between County Line Road and SR 37 from the time just after the accident until 1:30pm Tuesday afternoon.

The crash will undergo a full investigation.

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