3- and 4-year-old die in crash on State Road 82 in Lehigh Acres, woman arrested

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Melissa Montoya
Published: Updated:
Joyce Cara Zamago, 44. (CREDIT: Lee County Sheriff’s Office)


It was confirmed by the Florida Highway Patrol on Monday, the 3-year-old girl in critical condition has since died.

Original Story:

A 4-year-old girl died in a crash on State Road 82 in Lehigh Acres on Saturday

The Florida Highway Patrol said the child was one of five children, all from Immokalee, in a vehicle driven by a 14-year-old girl on State Road 82 near the intersection of Sunshine Boulevard.

Joyce Cara Zamago, 44, was a passenger in the vehicle. Zamago, of Immokalee, was arrested and booked into Lee County Jail on Sunday and faces charges of permitting an unauthorized minor to drive, operating motor vehicle without driverโ€™s license (causing death), and aggravated child abuse.

FHP says the reason the mother let her 14-year-old drive is because she was intoxicated. Ken Watson is an FHP Trooper. “Allowing a young girl to drive an automobile because she was intoxicated. And did not want to get behind the wheel,” Watson said.

Zamago let her daughter be her designated driver while her four other kids were also in the car. None of them were wearing seatbelts. “For an adult to tell that child that she was doing something that was ok it’s just something I don’t understand. As a father, I can’t imagine putting my child in that type of jeopardy,” said Watson.

The 14-year-old driver, 44-year-old woman, a 10-year-old boy, an 8-year-old girl sustained minor injuries. A 3-year-old girl is in critical condition.

“It is not this young girl’s fault. You know this all falls on that adult,” said Watson.

The crash happened at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday and shut the roadway for numerous hours.

The van driven by the 14-year-old was westbound on State Road 82 in the left turn lane at Sunshine Boulevard South. An SUV, driven by a 37-year-old man, was eastbound on State Road 82 approaching the intersection when the van turned left into the path of the SUV.

The SUV had five passengers, three of them children between the ages of 19 and 12, and a 32-year-old woman. No one was injured.

Trooper Watson says this was totally preventable. “It’s just devastating to lose a child who is that young and we often speak about crashes that could be prevented. Well here is something that absolutely could’ve been prevented and should have been prevented,” he said.

The Florida Highway Patrol no longer releases the names of crash victims, citing Marsy’s Law.

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