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LAKELAND, FL (February 11, 2024) - On Sunday, February 11, 2024, at approximately 5:00 a.m., officers responded to a traffic crash involving a black Dodge pickup truck and a pedestrian near the intersection of US 98 South (Bartow Road) and North Massachusetts Avenue. Just before the crash, the Dodge was traveling northwest on US 98 South in the inside lane of travel. A pedestrian was walking, attempting to cross US 98 South, when he entered the truck's path and was struck. The driver of the truck came to a controlled stop and remained at the scene.


The Lakeland Police Department Patrol Units, Polk County Fire Rescue, and the Lakeland Fire Department all arrived on the scene to begin life-saving measures. The pedestrian was transported to Lakeland Regional Health, where he was pronounced deceased by medical professionals. The driver of the truck did not sustain any injuries.


The roadway was shut down for approximately two hours to process the scene for the ongoing investigation. Anyone with information regarding the crash is asked to contact Traffic Crash Investigator Officer Travis Payne at travis.payne@lakelandgov.net.


Dodge Driver:

James Booker

Age: 53

Lakeland, FL



Jose Baez Belnier

Age: 23

Lakeland, FL


Media inquiries should be directed to mediarelations@lakelandgov.net.