A 53-year-old man using a walker to cross Harden Boulevard outside of a crosswalk died after he was struck by a northbound GMC Canyon truck early this morning, Lakeland police said. A witness said the victim, Jeffrey T. Wells, was looking down as he crossed the road near Lakeland Christian School, police said.

The 5:44 a.m. accident closed Harden Boulevard for several hours, diverting northbound traffic and causing backups on neighborhood streets.

The Canyon was traveling on the outside lane and struck Wells with its right front side near the intersection of Forest Park Street. Driver Clinton Bishop, 39, of Lakeland, stopped immediately and called 911. He told police he did not see the pedestrian.

Lakeland Police Department, Polk County Fire Rescue, and the Lakeland Fire Department attempted life-saving measures, but Wells was pronounced dead at the scene.

Bishop was uninjured. No charges have been filed. Police said the investigation is ongoing.

Northbound Harden Boulevard traffic was diverted onto Edgewood Drive.

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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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