Polk County Sheriffs Office Press Release
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fatal two-vehicle crash which occurred Sunday, December 23, 2018 at about 8:36 P.M. on Shinn Boulevard (US Hwy 17/92) and Pomelo Street in Lake Alfred. 5-year-old Ayden Cabanas suffered head trauma in the crash and was airlifted to St. Joseph Hospital in Tampa where he succumbed to his injuries.
26-year-old Austin Cabanas, of Old Dade City Road in Lakeland, was the driver of a silver 2006 Volvo sedan. His passengers included 24-year-old Shannon Yawn, 3-year-old Evee Cabanas, and Ayden. Austin was taken to Lakeland Regional Health, Shannon was treated and released, and Evee was taken to St. Joseph Hospital in stable condition.
The other vehicle, a white 2012 Ford Taurus, was driven by 23-year-old Cole Ethridge, and his passenger was 25-year-old Ty Ethridge. Both list their address as 680 N. Buena Vista Drive in Lake Alfred. Cole and Ty reported only soreness from the crash.
According to the preliminary investigation, the Cabanas’ car was southbound on Shinn Blvd. when a Lake Alfred PD officer attempted a traffic stop on the vehicle. The officer activated his overhead lights, but before he was able to radio in his actions, Cabanas’ car drove through a red light and crashed into Ethridge’s Taurus. The Volvo struck a pole, and overturned.
Austin admitted that he was driving with a suspended license, and was arrested for DWLSR (Driving While License Suspended/Revoked). He complained of having chest pains, and was taken to Lakeland Regional Health.
Austin was not able to be interviewed after he became combative at the hospital. His blood tested positive for methamphetamines, and a follow-up test on the blood will be conducted to determine if it was an impairing amount.
Yawn told investigators that Austin may have been speeding, and she was unaware that the Lake Alfred PD officer was behind their car. She admitted that the children were not properly secured in their car seats.
The roadway was closed for 5 hours during the investigation. The investigation is ongoing, and additional charges are pending the results of Austin’s blood tests.