The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has charged a Lakeland father with the death of his 5-year-old son.
Authorities say 26-year-old Austin Cabanas was driving a 2006 Volvo sedan when an officer tried pulling him over. Detectives say Cabanas sped up.
“He accelerates, he’s going 30-40 miles per hour over the speed limit, trying to run from the Lake Alfred police officer,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
Cabanas was driving southbound on Shinn Boulevard in Lake Alfred when he ran through a red light and hit another car at the intersection of Pomelo Street, and then flipped.
His son Ayden Cabanas suffered head trauma as a result of the crash. Paramedics rushed him to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he died from his injuries.
A week after the crash, detectives have now charged Cabanas with vehicular homicide.
“Had he stopped, taken his traffic citation for speeding, taken his traffic citation for driving on a suspended license, his five-year-old child would have enjoyed Christmas. You know he was all excited about Santa Claus coming,” said Sheriff Judd.
Sheriff Judd said that Cabanas was arrested during a New Year’s Eve party at his home.
“We go to his house on New Year’s Eve to arrest him, he’s having a party,” Judd said. “Did you hear me? He’s having a New Year’s Eve party when his child was killed a week earlier.”
The two men in that car, 23-year old Cole Ethridge and 25-year old Ty Ethridge, suffered minor injuries.
The other passengers in the fleeing Volvo are identified as 24-year-old Shannon Yawn and 3-year old Evee Cabanas.
Evee and Yawn were treated for minor injuries and released.
Detectives report the suspect’s blood tested positive for methamphetamines and further tests are currently being conducted. He is being held without bond.