LAKELAND — A Lakeland woman has been charged with DUI manslaughter after officials with the Polk County Sheriff's Office said she hit and killed a man while driving along Interstate 4 Wednesday night.
Incident happened around 8:45 p.m. near mile marker 28, after officials said the occupants of a white 1999 Ford F250 and a black 2014 Ford Mustang were parked on the shoulder of westbound I-4, east of the West 10th Street overpass, after being involved in a minor traffic crash. The drivers had exchanged information and were preparing to leave.
The driver of the Mustang and his two passengers were inside their vehicle, while the driver of the pick-up truck had walked back to the driver side of his truck. A passenger was inside that vehicle, officials said.
Around that time, according to officials, 46-year-old Lucretia Bruno of Lakeland had entered I-4 from the US 98 ramp driving a white 2017 Ford Fusion erratically. As Bruno drove toward the F250 pick-up truck and Mustang, Sheriff's officials said she drifted over the fog line and ran into the driver's side of the pick-up truck as well as the driver, who was standing at the opened door. The impact threw the driver into the Fusion's windshield.
Bruno went on to crash into the back of the Mustang, the report continued, with the Fusion spinning clockwise west for about 50 feet before stopping on the north shoulder of I-4 facing south. Witnesses told the PCSO that Bruno stumbled from her car and had to steady herself by holding on to the vehicle's trunk.
The driver of the pick-up died at the scene. No one else was injured.
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Bruno told deputies she had just left a bar where she drank five or six beers and was on her way home. According to the arrest affidavit, deputies smelled alcohol on Bruno, her eyes were watery and her speech was slurred.
“There is never an excuse to drink and drive. A family has lost a loved one because of this woman decided to get behind the wheel of a car after consuming 5 or more beers," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. "Please, this holiday season, and throughout the year, don’t drink and drive."
The results of Bruno's blood alcohol test is pending, officials said in a release.
Bruno was charged with driving under the influence, two counts of DUI with property damage and DUI manslaughter. She is currently being held in the Polk County Jail with no bond.
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The center and outside lanes of I-4 in the area of the crash were closed for about six hours during the investigation, which is still ongoing.
The Sheriff's Office did not release the names of the victim's due to Marsy's Law.
Ledger reporter Rebecca Lee can be reached at Rlee3@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @RELReports.
This article originally appeared on The Ledger: Lakeland woman charged with DUI manslaughter, Polk County Sheriff's Office says