Polk County Sheriff’s Traffic deputies have made two arrests in a fatal traffic crash investigation that occurred on December 15, 2011.
According to the affidavits, around 4:00 a.m. that morning, Jesus Marti, DOB 3/13/1957, of Riverview, was operating a semi tractor-trailer in Lake Wales when he stopped at a railroad crossing that had its barriers down and lights flashing in the eastbound lane of S.R. 60 just west of West Lake Wales Road.
While he was stopped at the crossing, a 2002 Kia Sportage SUV being driven by Heath Whiteaker, DOB 11/25/1978, of Frostproof, slammed into the back of the trailer, which did not have a load on it at the time. After crashing into the trailer, the Kia then crashed into a guardrail. The impact killed Whiteaker’s passenger, 33-year-old Adam Walker of Frostproof. Neither Whiteaker nor Walker were wearing seatbelts. Whiteaker also received injuries during the crash.
After the crash, Marti fled the scene in the tractor-trailer.
After the crash, upon detecting the strong odor of alcohol on Whiteaker, deputies obtained a blood sample from him for analysis. Lab results returned to PCSO revealed that Whiteaker had a blood alcohol level of 0.153 at the time of the crash. An independent witness also reported seeing the Kia driving erratically just prior to the crash.
On Thursday, April 5, 2012, Heath Whiteaker was arrested and booked into the Polk County Jail on one count DUI Manslaughter (F-2), one count Vehicular Homicide (F-2), and one count DUI With Property Damage (M-1). He has since been released after posting bond.
On Monday, April 9, 2012, Jesus Marti was located in Hillsborough County and arrested on a Polk County Warrant for one count Leaving the Scene of a Crash With a Death (F-1). He has been booked into the Hillsborough County Jail.