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Wrong-way driver in critical condition after crash on US 17, Polk County deputies say

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FORT MEADE, Fla. (WFLA) — An Arcadia man is in critical condition after a two-vehicle crash Saturday night, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office said that it got a call about the collision around 11:35 p.m. after Ricardo Castillo, 26, of Arcadia crashed his car into another car on US 17 while driving the wrong way.

Deputies said evidence showed that Castillo’s entered the interstate’s southbound lanes while heading north, hitting an SUV driven by Jesus Garza, 40, of Bowling Green. It is not known why or where Castillo initially crossed into the wrong lane.

First responders had to remove Castillo from the wreckage and took the 26-year-old to a hospital for life-threatening injuries, according to the sheriff’s office. Authorities said Castillo had to be resuscitated twice while being treated.

Deputies said Garza survived the collision with only minor injuries.

US 17’s southbound lanes were closed for four hours as deputies investigated. The sheriff’s office is still looking into what happened.

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