A 16-year-old car passenger died early Wednesday after the Honda Accord he was in veered into oncoming traffic on East Memorial Boulevard and was hit by a Jeep Compass three lanes away, according to the Lakeland Police Department.

Jose Luis Sanchez, 16, was declared dead by first responders following the post-midnight accident near Memorial and Holly Road, which is near Sertoma Park overlooking Lake Parker, police said.

Police who responded to the accident at 12:24 a.m. said the Honda driven by Johnathan Joel Acosta, 17, of Lakeland, had been traveling eastward in the inside lane of Memorial and “for unknown reasons at this time, the Honda veered across the center left-turn lane and into the path of the Jeep Compass,” which had been traveling west in the outside lane of Memorial.

The Jeep struck the front passenger side of the Honda, police said.

Both drivers were transported to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center. The driver of the Jeep was identified as Raymond Brian Matt, 42, of Lakeland.

Memorial Boulevard was shut down until around 6 a.m. Wednesday as the scene was processed.

Police ask anyone with information about the accident to contact Traffic Homicide Investigator Tyler Anderson at 863.834.2553 or tyler.anderson@lakelandgov.net

SEND CORRECTIONS, questions, feedback or news tips: newstips@lkldnow.com

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.

Leave a comment

Your Thoughts On This? (Comments are moderated; first and last name are required.)