LAKEWOOD RANCH -- A wrong-way crash on State Road 70 near Lakewood Ranch Boulevard left three people dead and sent two children to All Childrens Hospital with serious injuries Saturday night, the Florida Highway Patrol reports.
Killed in the collision were both drivers, Merritt Hilton Duryea, 54, of Myakka City, and Laurence Worley, 63, also of Myakka City, and an 11 year-old boy.
Duryea was driving a 2004 Ford pickup west in an eastbound lane of State Road 70 East and struck a 2008 Ford Expedition driven by Worley traveling eastbound in the same lane about 7 p.m., the FHP reported.
Duryea was at fault in the accident, the FHP said.
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All of the children were in the Expedition. Ages of the children taken to All Childrens were not available.
A pair of crosses had been placed in the median of the highway Sunday, marking the the crash scene.
Just prior to the fatal crash, another vehicle traveling directly in front of the Expedition took evasive action and swerved to the right to avoid colliding with the Ford pickup.
A fourth vehicle swerved off the road onto the south shoulder to avoid the crash. Debris from the crash was thrown onto the left side of the vehicle that swerved to avoid the collision. Neither the driver of the fourth vehicle or an 8-year-old passenger were injured.
Identities of the victims were withheld until late Sunday evening, after next of kin had been notified.
Additional information about the children remained unknown Sunday afternoon. Margi Nanney, spokeswoman for the Manatee School District, said the district had received no information that any of the victims might be local students.
Damage to the pickup truck was estimated at $15,000. Damage to the Expedition was estimated at $20,000.
The initial press release from the FHP early Sunday indicated that two persons had died in the crash and that the driver of the Expedition had suffered minor injuries.
But the updated press release at 5:40 p.m. Sunday said that Worley had been pronounced deceased at the scene by EMS.
More information will be posted as it becomes available.