The Utilities Director of the city of Winter Haven Kimberly Hansell died in a traffic wreck Tuesday afternoon.
Hansell, 54, 7224 Thomas Jefferson Circle W., Bartow, was driving her Nissan Sentra and was heading west on Bomber Road near Cypress Street in Wahneta when it was struck head-on by a 2003 Dodge Caravan, the police reported. The Caravan was being driven by Jeffrey Wilson of 126 11th Street East in Wahneta.
Kim began her career with the City of Winter Haven in May of 2005, and worked in many capacities. In her job as Utility Services Director, she supervised a team of more than 65 employees providing Winter Haven with water and wastewater services.
She loved her job, and the many people she worked alongside.
“There’s a shock factor there,” Winter Haven’s Public Information Officer Donna Sheehan said.
She said Hansell had a “tremendous knowledge” in her job.
“The staff respected her so much,” she said.
City Manager Deric Feacher said in a prepared statement, “Kim was an important member of the City of Winter Haven team. She was a very knowledgeable and extremely trustworthy leader who cared deeply about her fellow employees, the city organization and the community she served. It is a tremendous loss.”
According to witnesses, the van was heading eastbound on Bomber Road when, for unknown reasons, it crossed the double-yellow center line and struck the Sentra head-on, causing both vehicles to rotate, with the Sentra coming to a rest in the ditch.
Hansell was airlifted to LRMC, where she succumbed to her injuries. Her passenger, Daniel Kollmansberger, 58, of 8305 Cristobal Circle, Orlando, was taken to Winter Haven Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The driver of the van, Wilson, had minor injuries and was treated and released at the scene by EMS. He was the only occupant of his vehicle.
All parties were wearing seat belts and all airbags deployed. Wilson appears to be the at-fault driver, and charges/citations are pending the outcome of the investigation.
The city has not discussed how to replace her as the city is dealing with the impact of the wreck. Funeral arrangements are pending.