Teen Dies After He Was Struck by Car on Clubhouse Road

Kalen KirkKalen Kirk, a 17-year-old George Jenkins High School student, died after he was struck by a car while running across Clubhouse Road toward a bus stop around 6:15 a.m. today, the Polk Sheriff’s Office reported. The car was driven by Shirley Cross, 60, a school crossing guard supervisor, PCSO said.

The accident closed Clubhouse Road to traffic around Andros Boulevard and Summerlin Hills Drive for several hours. The road reopened around 11:15 a.m.

Kirk is the son of Tony Kirk, director of employee relations for the Polk County School Board, City Commissioner Phillip Walker said at this morning’s commission meeting. Kirk had been selected to become Lakeland’s assistant chief of police last year but later withdrew.

The teen was taken to Lakeland Regional Health, where he was reported in critical condition before he died around 9:45 a.m.

He had crossed toward a bus stop at Andros Boulevard, an intersection where there is no crosswalk, while it was still dark.

Investigators say it appears as though the driver was unable to avoid hitting Kirk, sheriff’s officials said.

Cross, who was driving eastward, was uninjured. She was hired as a crossing guard in 1996.

Neighbors say there have been previous fatal accidents along Clubhouse Road and call for safety measures.

George Jenkins Principal Buddy Thomas said a crisis team is available at the school for any students needing counseling. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Kalen’s family members and loved ones,” he said.