Polk man dies in head-on collision

Posted: April 17, 2011 by The STR in NEWS & LOCAL NEWS
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LAKE WALES – A 26-year-old Auburndale man was killed Saturday night in a two-vehicle crash on Highway 60 in Polk County.

Phillip Craig Durden was pronounced dead at the scene just before 11 pm.

According to a Polk County Sheriff’s Office report Durden was traveling east in the westbound lanes of Highway 60 driving a white, 2002 Ford F-150 pickup truck pulling a trailer.

Investigators do not know why Durden was driving in the wrong lane.

At approximately the same time Jay Michael Batson was traveling west on Highway 60 in a 1997 International semi tractor-trailer filled with citrus molasses. The two vehicles struck head on just west of Capps Rd.

Durden’s vehicle suffered significant damage and burst into flames. Batson, 41, was transported to Lake Wales Medical Center where he was treated and released.

His semi came to a rest in the eastbound lane of Highway 60. The roadway was closed until 5 am Sunday due to the cleanup and investigation.

The official cause of the crash is still under investigation.

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