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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Babson Park Young Man Charged With Vehicular Manslaughter

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Polk County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 20-year-old Coleden Snowden of Babson Park, charging him with vehicular manslaughter, a second degree felony, after an extensive investigation and reconstruction of the crash indicated he operated his vehicle in willful wanton disregard for human life, causing the death of a Frostproof woman.

Around 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, 53-year-old Patricia Robarts had just left The Coop restaurant on Waverly Road where she worked, and began turning left onto Scenic Hwy. Snowden was traveling west in a Chevy Tahoe, and attempted to brake and swerve to avoid striking her car, but was unsuccessful. Upon impact on the driver’s side door of Robarts’ Kia, the car caught fire, and she was declared deceased at the scene. 

A download of the Tahoe’s Airbag Control Module (ACM) revealed that the Tahoe was traveling 112 MPH with no braking five seconds before striking the Kia. Braking began at four seconds prior to collision, at 112 MPH; at three seconds prior, at 104 MPH; at two seconds prior, at 94 MPH; and at one second prior to impact, at 65 MPH. The crash also took place just past a “hidden driveway” sign on the highway.

It is clear from the evidence that had the Tahoe been traveling at or near the posted speed limit of 55 MPH, the crash either would not have occurred, or would have been drastically reduced, with non-fatal injuries. 

According to the evidence and investigation, Snowden was operating his vehicle at 112 MPH, which is 57 MPH over the posted speed limit, and intentionally drove up a hill after passing a warning sign regarding a hidden driveway, on a dark and unlit rural roadway.

“The tragic death of Ms. Robarts was completely avoidable, if only Coleden Snowden had obeyed the posted speed limit and not driven so recklessly. He is now facing a serious felony, and we hope that his arrest serves as an example to others about the importance of traffic safety. Ms. Robarts’ friends and family members are in our prayers.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff

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