Click Here for ADA Accessible Format

Polk County Sheriff’s Phone# 863-298-6200

If in an emergency Dial 911

Polk County Sheriff Facebook Polk County Sheriff Twitter Polk County Sheriff Instagram Polk County Sheriff Youtube

Hit enter to search or ESC to close

News and Investigations

News & Investigations

News Releases and Public Information

Welcome to the Polk County Sheriff's Office News Room, where the Public Information Officers (PIO's) post all of the information that they release to the news media. PIO's act as liaisons between news media organizations and the Sheriff's Office. The PIO's routinely release timely and accurate information and Crime Stoppers bulletins, and respond to routine and "breaking news" media inquiries. News releases and Crime Stoppers information can be found on this page.

PCSO's full-time Public Information Officers are Brian Bruchey, Carrie Horstman, and Alicia Manautou. The Public Information Officers can be reached by sending an e-mail collectively at

The recent news releases sent out by the PIOs can be found here, and archived releases (older than 2017) can be found here.

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.