The Florida Highway Patrol reported a fatal crash on Monday evening on Kings Highway (County Road 769).

According to FHP, 31-year-old Kyle Lee Whidden of DeSoto County was headed south in a 1997 Dodge Dakota on Kings Highway south of Fort Winder Street. At the same time, a 2019 Mercedes SUV driven by Maria Evelia Castro, 53, also of DeSoto, was coming north. As Whidden negotiated the left curve, his vehicle entered the northbound lane for unknown reasons. The resulting head-on collision caused the Dodge to rotate counterclockwise, ending up facing east. The Mercedes rotated clockwise and ended up on the eastern shoulder facing southwest.

Whidden was apparently pronounced deceased at the scene. Castro suffered serious injuries and was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital. Her passengers — a 12-year-old boy and a 20-year-old woman — were both taken to DeSoto Memorial Hospital with serious injuries.

FHP has not yet determined whether either driver was under the influence of alcohol. No citations have been issued and the crash remains under investigation.

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