Polk sheriff: Teen with learner's permit not to blame in deadly accident that killed his father

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A teen learning to drive was hit in a head-on collision in Polk County, the crash killed his father.

Sandeep Beri, 57, was killed, leaving the teen, Nick Beri, 15, and his sister, Sophia, 7, without any parents. Their mother died in December of cancer.

"It has been shock in the neighborhood because no one expected this to happen," said neighbor Andrew Campbell.

Sunday morning, just before noon, Beri's PT Cruiser was hit by a vehicle driven by Nannette Garcia.

For some reason, the vehicle crossed the center lane of Cypress Gardens Blvd. Garcia was taken to Lakeland Regional in critical condition.

Nick and his sister are hospitalized; currently they are listed in stable condition.

Campbell remembers Sandeep as a friendly face.

"Every time I came out I would always get a wave and everything," he said. "When I first moved in here at the end of 2017, he was the first one who came over, and he offered us water and everything."

Because of all their conditions, Sheriff Grady Judd said they haven't spoken with the drivers. Investigators do believe Nick, who had a learner's permit, did nothing wrong.

"Sometimes these accidents and injuries carry on for a long time, emotionally or physically," said Campbell. "I just hope they get better and come out the other side somehow."

Garcia is expected to recover.

Deputies believe they will be able to determine why she crossed the median and went into oncoming traffic when the investigation concludes.

If you witnessed the crash, you're asked to call the Polk County Sheriff's Office at 863-298-6200.