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Oct 12, 2022

Toddler killed and a 5-year old injured in single vehicle crash in Polk County; driver arrested on several charges including DUI Manslaughter

Media Contact: Brian Bruchey, PIO

A single vehicle crash in unincorporated Polk City early Wednesday morning claimed the life of a 22-month old boy and left a 5-year old boy with a fractured neck. The driver of the vehicle, who was not injured, was arrested by Traffic Homicide detectives from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

30-year old Guadalupe Najera Santana was charged with: DUI-Manslaughter (F2), Negligent Child Abuse (2-Counts, F2) DUI-Serious Bodily Injury (F3), DUI with Property Damage (M1), DUI (M2), and Driving with an Expired License (M2). 

Ms. Najera Santana resides in Polk City, but is originally from Mexico and is in the United States on an expired work visa. United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been notified.

“It is absolutely maddening, with so many other options available, that someone would choose to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The result of this woman’s poor choice is the death of one child, and the very serious injury to another child.”Grady Judd, Sheriff

Deputies from the PCSO were dispatched to the crash at about 12:15 a.m., Wednesday, October 12, 2022, along with Polk County Fire Rescue. The crash occurred on Deen Still Road at Old Grade Road, about ten miles north of the city of Lake Alfred.

Upon arrival of first responders, the toddler was found deceased. The 5-year old boy was transported to the hospital for his injuries. The toddler, who was not in a child safety seat, was ejected from the vehicle. Detectives are still trying to determine if the adult and 5-year old were wearing a seat belt.

According to the preliminary investigation, Ms. Najera Santana was driving a black 2019 Chevrolet pickup truck west on Deen Still Road when she lost control of the truck, crashed through a barbed-wire fence, and struck multiple pine trees. 

Ms. Najera Santana was determined to be impaired by detectives, and multiple open and unopened containers of beer were also found in and around the vehicle. She admitted to detectives that she had consumed several beers earlier in the evening.

Ms. Najera Santana was arrested and taken to the Sheriff’s Processing Center to be booked-into jail. There she provided two breath samples that showed a breath-alcohol content of 0.141 g/210L of breath and 0.139 g/210L of breath. The legal threshold is 0.08 g/210L of breath. 

The roadway was closed for approximately four hours, but the investigation remains ongoing.