Four people were killed late Wednesday in a fiery two-vehicle crash in Fort Meade.
According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, the crash happened at 11:15 p.m. on U.S. Hwy 98 West, just west of Adams Road.
Traffic unit investigators say it appears a 1999 Toyota 4Runner, driven by 23-year-old Christian Bautista of Frostproof, veered from the westbound lane into eastbound traffic.
The 4Runner collided nearly head-on with a 2005 Chrysler Pacifica, resulting in the Pacifica bursting into flames and the 4Runner rolling and ejecting Bautista.
"For reasons unknown at this stage of the investigation, we know that the 4Runner crossed over the center line, hitting the Pacifica almost directly head on," Sheriff Grady Judd said.
Officials said it appears Bautista, who was alone in the SUV, was not wearing his seatbelt.
Bautista was transported to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Firefighters extinguished the flames that consumed the Pacifica and found three dead people inside.
Due to the extent of the fire damage, officials said it is not possible to positively identify the three occupants of the car without dental records, and that due to the holiday, that may not happen for a few days.
They say they have tentatively identified the driver as Jim Alan Bass, 23, of Seffner, using the driver's license found in his wallet and interviews with family members.
They also said those family members identified the other passengers in the car as Jim's brother, Joshua Bass, 24, also of Seffner, and their cousin, Casey Baynard, 41, of Tampa.
The family members say the men were heading to Sebring to visit their grandmother.
U.S. 98 was closed in both directions for several hours after the crash.
The roadway has since been reopened.