On March 10, 2021, a fatal two-vehicle crash happened just north of the city of Eagle Lake. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the wreck.
At approximately 3:19 pm, the accident happened on State Road 540 at the intersection of Old Eagle Lake and Winter Haven Road. Upon arrival, deputies and Polk County Fire Rescue discovered 72-year-old Gary Tapley of Winter Haven deceased in the roadway. His 2014 Yamaha motorcycle was nearby.
The other driver involved was a 58-year-old Uber driver Saskia Colin of Tampa. She was driving a silver 2020 Kia Forte. At the time of the accident, an Uber passenger was occupying her backseat. Both Colin and her passenger were transported to Winter Haven Hospital, where they were treated for minor injuries and released.
According to officers’ preliminary investigation, Tapley was traveling westbound on SR 540 while Colin was northbound on Old Eagle Lake-Winter Haven Road. Colin stopped at the intersection at the stop sign before proceeding across the eastbound lanes of SR 540 into the median, where she stopped again. When she began to cross the westbound lanes of SR 540, Tapley was in the inside lane. The motorcycle slammed into the rear passenger side door of the Kia, and Tapley was ejected from his vehicle. Both Colin and her passenger were wearing their seatbelts, and Tapley was wearing a helmet.
The investigation has not yet concluded who was at fault. Uber did not respond to the event. The westbound lanes of DR 540 were closed for about three hours during the investigation.
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