According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), Rodney Wimberly, 52, of Lakeland had stopped his 1993 Jeep Wrangler at a red light on U.S. 98 when a sports bike pulled up next to it. Both drivers revved their engines, and sped off as soon as the light turned green. The sports bike pulled several car lengths ahead of the Jeep, whose driver lost control near the intersection with Innovation Way. The Jeep hit an electrical pole at a high rate of speed, ejecting both Wimberly and his passenger, 47-year-old Shannon Oglesby. The Jeep then caught fire.
Several witnesses and off-duty PCSO deputy Mark Trexler stopped to render aid and call for emergency services. Oglesby’s leg was severely injured, and Trexler and another bystander attempted to stop the bleeding. When paramedics arrived, Wimberly and Oglesby were taken to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center, where Oglesby later succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced dead. Wimberly was listed in critical condition with a fractured pelvis, head trauma, and other injuries.
Witnesses say the sports bike’s driver was far enough ahead that they may not have been aware of the crash.
If there was negligence on the part of the Jeep’s driver or the auto manufacturer, Oglesby’s family may have grounds to move forward with a civil Wrongful Death case.