A teenager in Winter Haven and his younger sister are now orphaned after a deadly collision on Sunday, July 7.
Sandeep Beri, 57, was teaching his 15-year-old son to drive in their PT Cruiser. His 7-year-old daughter was riding in the backseat. Just before noon, a vehicle driven by 22-year-old Nanette Garcia crossed the center line and struck the PT Cruiser head-on, killing Beri and injuring his two children. The two minors are hospitalized and expected to recover, but sadly, they are now orphaned as their mother died of cancer in December.
Authorities say the teenage driver was not at fault in the crash.
“It wasn’t seconds. It was probably fractions of a second that she went from her lane of travel head-on into the vehicle. There was no time to react,” said Sheriff Judd of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. “There is zero indication that he did anything but appropriately operate that motor vehicle. He was driving according to the rules.”
Beri’s neighbor, Andrew Campbell, says Beri’s death has been a shock and loss to the neighborhood. “Every time I came out I would always get a wave and everything. When I first moved in here at the end of 2017, he was the first one who came over, and he offered us water and everything.”
Campbell added that he hopes the children will be all right.
“Sometimes these accidents and injuries carry on for a long time, emotionally or physically,” said Campbell. “I just hope they get better and come out the other side somehow.”