Florida man accused of fatally running over girlfriend outside bar

Man accused of fatally running over girlfriend outside bar

FORT MEADE, Fla. — A Florida man is accused of hitting and killing his girlfriend while driving a vehicle outside a Polk County bar, then returning to the establishment, authorities said.

Charles Robert Polen, 40, of Fort Meade, was charged with DUI manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident involving death and driving without a license, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. He remains in jail in lieu of $15,000 bail, according to arrest records.

Deborah Jo Hershberger, 40, of Fort Meade, was found dead in a road near the Coop, a bar in eastern Polk County, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

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According to an arrest report, Polen and Hershberger were drinking at the bar Saturday. They had driven there in Hershberger’s 2002 blue Dodge Neon, the newspaper reported. Police said Polen got into an argument with another man, then quarreled with Hershberger when she asked for the keys to the Neon, the Times reported.

Hershberger left on foot, and Polen stayed in the bar to finish his beer, the newspaper reported. Then, Polen got into the Neon and began driving to look for her.

Polen told deputies that while driving, he hit something, WTSP reported. Polen said he thought he had hit an animal, but then saw a person lying in the road. A woman called 911, and Polen told deputies drove back to the bar and waited for law enforcement, WFTS reported.

After authorities arrived, Polen walked from the bar to the scene. the Times reported. Deputies said Polen was upset and had to be restrained once he realized it was Hershberger’s body on the road, the newspaper reported.

Deputies believed Polen was intoxicated; seven hours after the incident, his blood alcohol content was .046, which is below Florida’s legal limit of .08, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Charles Polen is facing DUI manslaughter charges after Saturday's incident.
Charles Polen is facing DUI manslaughter charges after Saturday's incident. (Polk County Sheriff's Office)