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Polk man arrested for crashing while on cell phone

November 12, 2009

Polk man arrested for crashing while on cell phone

Stephen Wade Horne was taken into custody today on a Warrant filed by the State Attorney’s Office (10th Judicial Circuit, Jerry Hill, State Attorney) for reckless driving causing serious bodily injury (F-3). 

He is being held in the Polk County Jail on $15,000 Bond.  His book-in photo is attached.

The State Attorney’s Office, working with PCSO and FHP investigators, charged 26-year-old Stephen Wade Horne of 1687 Barnhorst Road, Bartow with one count of Reckless Driving Causing Serious Bodily Injury (316.192.2, F-3).  The charges stem from when Horne drove his 2007 Suzuki Forenza into the back of a stopped Florida Refuse garbage truck collecting trash in front of 1226 Hankin Road south of Barnes Road in the Bartow area (East of Bartow, South of Hwy 60), on the morning of August 25, 2009.  Investigators documented a 54’8″ long skid mark that Horne created from breaking before slamming into the stopped, well lighted truck.  Horne also struck 19-year-old Emmanuel “Manny” Mejia of Winter Haven (He has since turned 20-years-old).

Mejia was severely injured in the crash and was transported by helicopter to Lakeland Regional Medical Center.  Mejia lost both of his legs as a result of Horne’s failure to stop.  He is still at LRMC, as of November 9, 2009, recovering from his serious injuries and receiving physical therapy.

Investigators have concluded from their investigation that Horne was distracted by using his cell phone at the time of the crash.  Emergency personnel from the scene told an investigator from the Florida Highway Patrol that Horne had said he was texting on his phone.  Investigators have also documented that at the time of the collision there were no environmental or visual conditions that would have contributed to the crash.

PCSO investigators served a search warrant in late September at Horne’s residence and have collected his cell phone for analysis.

Horne works for a temporary employment agency as a surveyor working for the Polk County Board of County Commissioners.

Polk County Sheriff
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