The two-vehicle accident took place at 7:46 p.m. on Kathleen Road, just south of the Memorial Boulevard overpass. | iStock

Three local teens died Wednesday night in a three-car crash on U.S. 98 North in front of the Northtowne Square shopping plaza. The accident occurred at 10:28 p.m.

Lakeland Police spokeswoman Stephanie Kerr said the teens were in a white 2012 Nissan Versa traveling northbound on the inside lane “at a high rate of speed.” Their car hit a 2006 Mark LT Lincoln pickup truck that was in the southbound turn lane, waiting to turn left into the shopping plaza.

The impact caused both vehicles to spin and slide eastward. The pickup truck hit a third vehicle, a silver 2010 Toyota Corolla, that was trying to leave the shopping center, according to a news release.

A 16-year-old girl who was driving the Versa was transported by ambulance to Lakeland Regional Medical Center, where she passed away a short time later. Two boys, ages 16 and 19, died at the scene.

WFLA News Channel 8 confirmed that the 16-year-old male was Gage Rogerson. They reported that he was an incoming sophomore at Tenoroc High School.

A school district official declined to comment about the teens or the accident, which happened about a week before the new school year starts on Aug. 11.

The 42-year-old Lakeland man driving the Lincoln truck and the 35-year-old Lakeland man driving the Toyota Corolla suffered minor injuries, but neither was transported to the hospital.

LkldNow was told the driver of the truck later went to the hospital because he was in pain. His sister has told friends that he had fractured ribs and vertebrae.

When asked if he faced any charges, Kerr said , “We don’t have any indication of that, but it’s so early in the investigation, we don’t know that.”

Photos courtesy of Brittany Fowler

The crash happened across the street from Polk County Fire Rescue Station 22 in Gibsonia. The northbound lanes of U.S. 98 North were closed for several hours. They reopened early Thursday morning.

On Thursday afternoon, crime scene tape was still wrapped around a dead palm tree and surgical gloves remained on the ground from where paramedics worked on the injured.

LPD’s traffic homicide team is investigating the accident. Anyone with information regarding the crash is asked to contact Traffic Crash Investigator Officer Tyler Anderson at

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Crime scene tape at the entrance to Northtowne Square marks where the fatal accident took place. Linksters Tap Room can be seen in the background. | Cindy Glover, LkldNow
Crime scene tape at the entrance to Northtowne Square marks the spot where a fatal accident claimed the lives of three Lakeland teenagers Wednesday night. | Cindy Glover, LkldNow

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Cindy Glover moved to Lakeland in 2021 after spending two decades in South Florida. Her career has included journalism, education, digital marketing and public relations. She worked for the Albuquerque Journal and South Florida Sun-Sentinel and spent a year as a community engagement coordinator for the City of Lakeland before joining LkldNow.

Kimberly C. Moore, who grew up in Lakeland, has been a print, broadcast and multimedia journalist for more than 30 years. Before coming to LkldNow in the spring of 2022, she was a reporter for four years with The Ledger, first covering Lakeland City Hall and then Polk County schools. She is the author of “Star Crossed: The Story of Astronaut Lisa Nowak," published by University Press of Florida. Reach her at or 863-272-9250.

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