LAKELAND, Fla. — The Polk County Sheriff's Office is investigating a fatal shooting involving two of their deputies and a woman who reportedly drove a stolen truck directly at them Monday afternoon.
- Deputies investigating report of stolen pick-up truck in woods off Lakeland Acres Road
- Driver reportedly ignored commands to exit truck, drove at deputies instead
- 3 other adults reportedly witnessed exchange between deputies, driver
- More Polk County stories
According to the agency, around 12:27 p.m. two Sheriff's Office deputies investigating the theft of a pickup truck spotted the vehicle in the woods off Lakeland Acres Road. The deputies reportedly approached the truck along a dirt road approaching the wooded area while calling out to the driver "numerous times" to step out of the truck and speak to them.
The driver was identified later Monday as 20-year-old Sidney Renew. According to the deputies, Renew did not comply, and instead drove straight at them. Fearing for their safety, the deputies fired into the truck's cab, striking and killing the driver.
A Sheriff's Office spokesperson declined to reveal how many shots Deputies Jessica Leblanc and Christin Pennell fired to stop Renew.
"We'll probably release that tomorrow, but we have to count the shell casings and that kind of stuff," said spokesperson Scott Wilder.
Renew allegedly stole the truck from another house in the neighborhood and was seen driving erratically shortly before the confrontation with deputies.
The Sheriff's Office noted that three adults in the area witnessed the incident and the deputies calling out to the driver, issuing verbal commands to exit the truck. They subsequently witnessed the driver accelerate towards the deputies, describing that she "had it floored."
Neither deputy was struck by the truck or injured in the incident. Per standard protocol, they were placed on administrative leave for the duration of the initial phase of the investigation.
Nearby residents called the scene "surreal" and "sad." Resident Melissa Nichols said she was grateful deputies kept the situation contained.
"I'm glad everything took place right there, because literally a couple hundred feet away and my children were here," Nichols explained. "They were out in the yard, they literally had no idea anything was going on and the situation could have been very much worse than it was."
Renew had a long criminal history, according to the Sheriff's Office. That history included 14 felony charges, 6 misdemeanors and at least 4 arrests.