Three people ages 22 to 25 died around 11:30 p.m. Saturday when the driver of a speeding orange Volkswagen lost control and his car hit the front of the oncoming Nissan they were in, Lakeland police reported this morning. 

Two 22-year-olds in the Nissan were both declared dead at the scene on U.S. 98 North near Fountainview Lake Drive, police said. They were identified as driver Christopher L. Stewart, 515 Bon Air Street, #146, and passenger, Kathrin R. Pitock, 515 Bon Air Street, #157.

The third person, backseat passenger Brittany Lewis, 25, of 1146 S. Nokomis Avenue, died at Lakeland Regional Hospital at around 1:30 a.m., police said.

The Nissan was traveling northbound when it was struck by a southbound Volkswagen driven by 26-year-old Michael J. Marrero, 5133 Rollinglen Loop E., police said.

[box]This article was updated at 1:40 p.m. with the identity of the third victim and Marrero’s condition.[/box]

“The Nissan ran off the roadway to the right and rolled over. The Volkswagen came to final rest facing south in the northbound lanes,” LPD Sgt. Terri Smith said in a news release.

Marrero, the Volkswagen driver, was taken to Lakeland Regional, where he was listed in stable condition late this morning, Smith said.  “At this time Marrero has charges pending the completion of this investigation,” Smith said.

For background on the victims, check a story in The Ledger that includes an interview with Stewart’s younger sister and one from Bay News 9 that includes comments from two victims’ mothers.

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Barry Friedman founded 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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