POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A man was arrested and charged in the death of a Frostproof woman while driving recklessly, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies said 20-year-old Coleden Snowden, of Babson Park, was driving on Scenic Highway at 112 mph at about 11:30 p.m. on March 21.
Snowden was speeding on the highway, traveling westbound, when Patricia “Lynn” Robarts, 53, began turning left onto the highway.
Snowden attempted to brake and swerve to avoid hitting her car, but ultimately struck the driver’s side of her car door.
The victim’s car caught on fire and she died on scene.
Deputies downloaded Snowden’s vehicle Airbag Control Module which revealed he was traveling at a high speed before hitting Robarts’ car.
“We determined that he was driving 112 miles per hour and did not start applying the brakes until 4 seconds before impact. So driving way too fast, recklessly without regard for human life,” said Carrie Horstman with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
It was discovered Snowden began braking four seconds prior to the collision at 112 mph and was traveling 65 mph upon impact.
The speed limit in that area is 55 mph.
It was also revealed he drove up a hill after passing a warning sign regarding a hidden driveway, on an unlit roadway.
“The tragic death of [the victim] was completely avoidable, if only Coleden Snowden had obeyed the posted speed limit and not driven so recklessly,” Sheriff Grady Judd said. “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.”
The victim, Lynn Robarts, was leaving work at The Coop, a restaurant and bar in town, at the time of the crash.
“Lynn was my person. She is the one I talked to about everything with, whether it’s grandkids or my daughter or work or other friends, trips. We did a lot of trips together,” said Tina Young, a longtime friend.
Robarts, who had five grandchildren, was referred to as “Mama Lynn” by customers, especially on college night.
“She’d keep them in line when they were in here showing out,” Young said.
Young hopes her dear friend’s death will serve as a lesson.
“If nothing else, I hope him and some of the other young people here learn from that, that it don’t take but a split second,” she said. “You don’t know what’s over that next hill that he came over.”
Snowden is charged with a second-degree felony for vehicular homicide.
A judge set bond Wednesday at $5,000.