4 die in major crash on Interstate 4 in Lakeland

Bay News 9

Four people, including a child, were killed Tuesday morning in a large crash on Interstate 4 in Lakeland, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The crash happened just after 8 a.m. and involved seven vehicles, according to Sgt. Steve Gaskins, of the Florida Highway Patrol.

The westbound lanes of Interstate 4 are closed between Kathleen Road and Memorial Boulevard.

Gaskins said the crash started when two vehicles hit each other in the eastbound lanes.

"What we've determined initially is that an eastbound pick-up truck clipped another eastbound vehicle, lost control and traveled into the westbound lanes, colliding with several other vehicles," Gaskins said. "That first vehicle overturned several times and two people in that vehicle were ejected because they weren't wearing seatbelts."

Officials have not said the extent of any other injuries.

According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, the large crash scene is at I-4 between Kathleen Road and Memorial Boulevard.

There is still a large debris field as officials continue to assess the crash site. Drivers are encouraged to avoid the area. The lanes will be closed for several hours.

Westbound I-4 traffic is exiting the interstate at U.S. 98 and at Kathleen Road. Drivers should use the Polk Parkway or US 92 as alternate routes. Traffic is also slow in the eastbound lanes.