Tampa Woman Dies, Polk Deputy Injured in Hit-and-Run Crash
A portion of State Road 60 was closed for several hours while deputies investigated. Polk County sheriff’s deputies are searching for the driver of the hit-and-run vehicle.
POLK COUNTY – A Tampa woman was killed and a Polk County sheriff’s deputy was seriously injured early this morning (Oct. 29) in a hit-and-un crash, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Jessica Enchautegui-Otero, 33, of Tampa, was declared dead at Lake Wales Medical Center.
Deputy Adam Pennell was taken to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center with a broken pelvis and other broken bones. He is expected to recover.
Pennell has been with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office since December 2013. He married another Polk County sheriff’s deputy in March. Christin Pennell was hired by the sheriff’s office in 2011 as a clerical assistant. She put herself through law enforcement academy and became a deputy in May 2014. His father is a retired Polk County sheriff’s sergeant.
“Our prayers are with the family of Jessica Enchautegui-Otero, and we remain hopeful that with the public’s help we will find the person responsible for killing her and severely injuring Adam,” Deputy Christin Pennell said.
“We appreciate everyone’s support while Adam faces upcoming surgery for his injuries, and we ask for your privacy and your prayers. More than anything we hope the suspect is found. Please join us in keeping Jessica’s family and loved ones in your prayers during this extremely difficult time.”
Information about the crash is still preliminary, but deputies say Pennell stopped to help Ms. Enchautegui-Otero, who had crashed her car. They were both in the median when they were hit by an unknown vehicle.
The crash happened about 12:40 a.m. on State Road 60 in the Lake Wales area. Pennell was enroute to a call for service when he saw a woman standing in the grass median. Pennell stopped his patrol car in the inside lane of SR 60, activated his emergency lights, and got out of the car to talk to the woman, Ms. Enchautegui-Otero. He discovered Ms. Enchautegui-Otero had struck a tree and had injuries from the crash – her vehicle was off the roadway against the tree. She had walked out onto SR-60 to flag someone down for help.
Dispatch records indicate Pennell called for an ambulance at 12:35 a.m. He called dispatch three more times. His last call was at 12:38 a.m. when he updated dispatchers with more information. When Polk County emergency medical services arrived at the scene seven minutes later, at 12:45 a.m.. they found Pennell and Ms. Enchautegui-Otero on the ground with serious injuries.
Tire marks indicated another vehicle, heading westbound, had gone into the median and struck both the deputy and Ms. Enchautegui-Otero before fleeing the scene.
Deputies have little information about the car that hit Pennell and Ms. Enchautegui-Otero. They are seeking the public’s help to identify the suspect vehicle, which would have front-end damage. If anyone has information about this incident they are urged to contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at (863) 298-6200. To remain anonymous, call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS (0344). Crime Stoppers is offering a $3,000 reward for information leading to identity and arrest of the person responsible.
“We are confident that with the community’s help, we will identify and arrest the coward who ran over a deputy and a young woman and left them both for dead, and then fled the scene,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. “We will work day and night until this case is solved. And to the coward who did this – we advise you to turn yourself in, sooner rather than later.”
For information about the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, go to polksheriff.org.
Photos courtesy of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
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