3-year-old dies in SR 82 multi-vehicle crash

Published: Updated:

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla.- A 3-year-old was killed during a chain reaction crash Monday evening on State Road 82 near Gunnery Road, while her mother and 4-year-old sister remain the hospital.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) says the driver of a Ford F-250 failed to stop for slowing traffic on SR 82 and hit the rear of a Toyota holding Monique Harris, Trinity Handy, 3, and Taqueria Handy, 4.

Authorities say the crash set off a chain reaction pushing Harris’ Toyota into a Kia, which in turn struck a 2012 Subaru station wagon before overturning.

The 4-year-old is in serious condition at a Tampa General Hospital. Her mother, Monique, is suffering from serious back injuries.

Lehigh Acres Fire Battalion Chief Lance Delgado says he isn’t surprised to hear of another fatal accident on SR 82.

“Typically in the morning, when we are getting our turnover from guys getting off shift, we’ll ask, ‘what happened with 82 last night,'” said Delgado. “Nobody tells you how later on, how it affects you mentally, stays with you. It stays with you forever.”

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) officials say there are plans to widen the road, but they don’t start until 2017. They say despite the continuing accidents, construction cannot begin sooner.

An FDOT spokesman says results of a speed study should be released in about two weeks. Researchers looked at the history of crashes in the area, as well as driver speeds.

Right now, the speed limit at most points throughout State Road 82 is 60 mph. If officials decide the speed limit should be lowered, it will not take long to replace the signs.

LCSO says they have stepped up speeding patrols in the area during the past three weeks, following a crash in early September that killed a 5-year-old and her father.

Officials say alcohol was not a factor in Monday’s crash, but the investigation remains open and charges are pending.


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