CLERMONT, Fla. – Four people, including a 5-year-old girl, were killed early Wednesday in a single-vehicle crash that shut down a Lake County roadway for hours, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
A 24-year-old Orlando man driving a Dodge Durango south on County Road 561 failed to negotiate a right-hand curve near Florida Boys Ranch Road, causing the SUV to run off the roadway and onto the east grass shoulder, where it collided with a large tree, troopers said.
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According to an FHP crash report, the SUV had four occupants in total. The passengers were a 48-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman, both of Orlando, as well as the 5-year-old Clermont girl. All four were pronounced dead at the scene, the report stated.
“This is truly a tragic crash, you know,” Lt. Tara Crescenzi with FHP said.
None of the adult occupants were wearing seat belts, and the child was not restrained in a proper car seat, troopers said.
“When you see a case like this that could have potentially been avoided if you were buckled up, you know, if you’re wearing your seatbelt it reduces your risk of injury by 50%. So, we need people to buckle up,” Crescenzi said.
CR-561 remained closed in both directions from Florida Boys Ranch Road to Lake Nellie Road before reopening hours later.
The fatal crash is under investigation.