Crash investigators from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office who were at the scene believe speed and reckless driving are the primary factors in a fatal crash between a motorcycle and a semi-truck Monday morning, July 15, 2019.
33-year-old John Stevens of Lakeland was killed when the motorcycle he was driving slammed into a flatbed trailer being pulled by a semi-tractor at about 7:57 a.m., on US Hwy 92 East at Fish Hatchery Road near Lakeland. Investigators say the motorcycle was traveling between 80-100mph.
The truck was driven by 53-year-old Blas Cabrera-Socarras of Lakeland, who is the owner/operator of the blue 2003 Freightliner. Cabrera-Socarras was not injured in the collision and was fully cooperative with the investigation, say officials.
According to the preliminary investigation, Stevens was driving east on US Hwy 92 at a high rate of speed, along with a second motorcycle which was occupied by two people.
While both motorcycles were going very fast, witnesses did not believe they were racing each other.
As Stevens approached the red-light at Fish Hatchery Road, the semi-truck was going south through the intersection, and had the right-of-way. Stevens attempted to brake, leaving a skid mark of approximately 200-feet. The motorcycle struck the center of the trailer with enough force that it bent the trailer’s steel spare-tire holder. Stevens was ejected and struck the trailer.
Witnesses told deputies that the second motorcycle stopped briefly at the scene and then left. No charges are pending against them, but deputies would like to speak to them as witnesses to the crash.
While witnesses estimated that Stevens was going between 80-100mph, the actual speed won’t be known until it is determined by the investigation.
Stevens was not wearing a helmet or other protective gear at the time of the crash. His license has been revoked since August of 2015 and he was considered a habitual traffic offender. He did not have a motorcycle endorsement on his license.
No charges are anticipated against Mr. Cabrera-Socarras.