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Deadly holiday travel season in Florida county

Four people are dead and another five injured after a series of unrelated traffic accidents in a central Florida county near Lake County during the long Thanksgiving weekend. The crashes are a tragic reminder of the need to be vigilant while driving, and especially being aware of other cars on the road.

Police say the first crash occurred when an SUV struck a pickup truck hauling concrete while attempting to turn onto a street. The collision caused the SUV to overturn, while the truck's trailer was sent into a ditch. The driver of the SUV and one of its passengers were killed in the serious car accident. Two other passengers in the same vehicle were sent to a medical facility with serious injuries, where they remain in very critical condition. The driver of the truck and a passenger sustained minor injuries, but did not require hospitalization. No charges have yet been filed.

Several hours later, a second serious accident occurred. According to police, this crash happened when a car traveling north in a southbound lane of the highway collided with an oncoming truck. The driver of the truck swerved, but was unable to dodge the car, causing him and two passengers to sustain serious injuries, while the driver of the car died in the accident. Police have not yet determined why the car was traveling in the wrong direction.

The third accident happened when a motorcyclist drove into a curb near an intersection, causing his vehicle to slam into a nearby house. He sustained severe injuries, dying shortly after being admitted to the hospital. Police say they have not determined how fast the motorcyclist was traveling at the time of the collision, but explained that an investigation is ongoing.

With more holiday travel on the horizon, it is important to remember that negligent and reckless driving is never the right thing to do. With more people on the roads comes a higher risk of accidents, but by exercising caution people can mitigate that risk.

Source: The Ledger, "4 Killed, 5 Injured in 3 Polk Crashes," Elvia Malagon, Nov. 24, 2011

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