Update: Monday 9:35 AM,
Polk County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating this crash. Any charges, if applicable, are pending the completion of the investigation. Deputies are still interviewing witnesses and processing evidence to determine why Nannette Garcia crossed over into the other lane.
Currently, Garcia is in critical but stable condition in the hospital, and is expected to recover.
Nick Beri is stable in the hospital and is expected to recover. His sister, Sophia Beri, was treated and is expected to be released from the hospital.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office traffic homicide deputies are investigating a two-vehicle crash that occurred today at approximately 11:58 a.m. on Cypress Gardens Boulevard just west of U.S. Highway 27.
According to witnesses 22-year-old Nannette Cruz Garcia of Orlando was driving east bound on Cypress Gardens Boulevard in a 2003 Toyota Corolla when she crossed over the raised median on Cypress Gardens Boulevard and struck a 2007 PT Cruiser being driven by 15-year-old Nick Beri of Winter Haven head-on.
Beri was traveling westbound on Cypress Gardens Boulevard in the outside lane of travel.
Both vehicles left the roadway and came to final rest in the culvert on the north side of the roadway.
Beri’s father, 57-year-old Sandeep Kumar Beri was in the front passenger seat and his 7-year-old sister, Sophia Beri, was in the rear passenger seat.
Nick Beri has a learner’s permit driver’s license and was operating the car legally.
According to investigators, Garcia was not wearing her seatbelt at the time of the crash.
All the occupants of the PT cruiser were properly seat belted in and airbags deployed in both vehicles.
Sandeep Kumar Beri was transported to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center where he was declared deceased as a result of injuries sustained in the crash.
Nick Beri was transported to LRHMC and is being treated for injuries; he is in stable condition. Sophia Beri was airlifted to Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando because of her age; she is listed in stable condition with minor injuries and overall body pain.
Nannette Cruz Garcia was transported to LRHMC and is being treated for serious injuries and is in critical condition.
Cypress Gardens Boulevard was closed during the investigation for several hours. The roadway was re-opened at approximately 4:10 p.m.
“We don’t know why Ms. Garcia crossed over the median and into the path of the Beri family. We will determine that during our investigation. I was at the scene this afternoon. This was just a devastating crash,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. “It is a reminder for all of us to drive safely and remain aware of our surroundings while driving. Our sympathies and prayers go out to the Beri family for their loss.”