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Three-vehicle accident near Indian Lakes Estates kills truck driver

LAKE WALES - A truck driver from Lakeland died in a three-vehicle accident east of Lake Wales, near Indian Lake Estates, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.

The accident happened at approximately 6:56 a.m. Saturday near the intersection of State Road 60 East and County Road 630 North.

A 2004 Freightliner semi tractor-trailer rig and a 2004 Ford minivan were traveling west on S.R. 60 and were approached by an eastbound 2006 GMC pickup truck.

For unknown reasons, according to the FHP, the driver of the Freightliner, 47-year-old Steven Vance Gatlin of Lakeland, failed to maintain his lane and entered the eastbound lane of S.R. 60 and into the path of GMC pickup.

The front left of the Freightliner collided with the left side of the pickup, causing the pickup to rotate counterclockwise. The semi rotated clockwise and jack-knifed, leaving the highway on the south shoulder. The semi rig overturned onto its left side and came to rest facing northeast in a ditch.

Meanwhile, the pickup entered the westbound lane of S.R. 60 and into the path of the minivan, according to the FHP. The left side of the pickup struck the left side of minivan. The pickup then rotated clockwise, leaving the roadway on the north shoulder and overturning onto its left side.

The minivan rotated counterclockwise, leaving the highway on the south shoulder and overturned onto its right side.

Rescue personnel pronounced Gatlin dead at the scene.

The driver of the pickup, 43-year-old David Theodore Alban of Loxahatchee, received minor injuries.

The driver of the minivan, 50-year-old James Alfonso Huggins of Lakeland, and a passenger, 51-year-old Catherine D. Huggins, also of Lakeland, both were taken to Lake Wales Medical Center for treatment of injuries.

The accident remains under investigation.

From News Chief