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Jan 31, 2023

Lakeland man arrested for DUI-Manslaughter and other charges for fatal weekend crash

Media Contact: Brian Bruchey, PIO

Traffic Homicide detectives from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office have arrested a man responsible for a fatal crash that occurred Saturday night, January 28, 2023, on New Tampa Highway (US 92) in Lakeland. 

25-year old Leonardo Barrera Zurita of Lakeland has been charged with: DUI-Manslaughter (F2), Driving without a License with Crash Involving Death (F3), DUI with Injury (M1), and DUI with Property Damage (M1). 

Analysis of Zurita’s blood following the crash revealed a blood-alcohol level of .156 (content above 0.08 is considered impaired).

A 51-year old Lakeland man was killed in the crash.

“PCSO deputies make dozens of arrests for DUI each month, and the untimely death of the victim is an example why. Law enforcement everywhere is out there trying to prevent deaths, injuries, and property damages from those who make the inexcusable decision to operate a motor vehicle while impaired.”Grady Judd, Sheriff.

The crash occurred at around 11:55pm Saturday night, about 1,000-feet east of the Polk Parkway.

Detectives determined that the black 2009 Chevrolet pick-up truck that Mr. Zurita was driving, crossed over the center line and struck the victim’s white 2004 Toyota pick-up.

Mr. Zurita suffered a broken femur and hand from the crash. His 32-year old passenger received bruises and abrasions, and was treated and released from the hospital.

The investigation is ongoing.