Toddler Dies During Drunk Driver Crash in Polk County
After registering a blood alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit for the state of Florida, a 30-year-old Polk City woman was taken into custody for her alleged connection to a deadly drunk driver crash that claimed the life of a toddler early Wednesday morning.
According to preliminary investigations by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, it was approximately 12:15 a.m. on October 12, 2022, when 30-year-old Guadalupe Najera Santana and her two child passengers were all traveling in a black 2019 Chevrolet pickup truck in the westbound direction of Deen Still Road roughly ten miles north of Lake Alfred. As she approached the intersection near Old Grade Road, Ms. Santana suddenly lost control of the pickup truck, drove through a barbed-wire fence, and slammed into a set of pine trees lining the roadway.
Officers with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and other local emergency responders were dispatched to the scene of the auto accident and sadly found that a 22-month-old boy had been ejected from the vehicle when the collision occurred and had since passed away from his injuries. The other young passenger, a 5-year-old boy sustained a fractured neck and was immediately transported to a local hospital. His current condition is unknown.
The driver, Guadalupe Najera Santana, was unharmed during the collision. Detectives discovered several opened & unopened alcoholic beverages inside of the vehicle and Ms. Santana herself admitted to drinking shortly before getting behind the wheel of the pickup truck. A routine breath test was administered and after two separate results of 0.141 and 0.139, she was arrested and charged with DUI manslaughter, DUI with serious bodily injury, DUI with property damage, DUI, negligent child abuse, and driving with an expired license. Her relationship to the children has not been disclosed.
“It is absolutely maddening, with so many other options available, that someone would choose to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The result of this woman’s poor choice is the death of one child, and the very serious injury to another child,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd in a statement to the media.
This tragic accident remains under investigation by traffic homicide detectives with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.