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Fort Meade man accused of hitting girlfriend with car while driving drunk, leaving her body in the street

Charles Police, 40, was arrested on a charge of DUI manslaughter and other charges.
Credit: Polk County Sheriff's Office

FORT MEADE, Fla. — A Fort Meade man is under arrest on a DUI manslaughter charge and his girlfriend is dead, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies with the Polk County Sheriff's Office responded to a report of a vehicle-pedestrian crash in Babson Park in Fort Meade late Saturday night.

When deputies got there, they found Deborah Hershberger, 40, of Fort Meade, dead in the road.

Hershberger's boyfriend, Charles Polen, 40, of Fort Meade, was arrested by deputies when they discovered that he was driving the car that hit her and left the scene.

While investigating her death, deputies say Polen approached the scene on foot and had to be restrained while he was asking if the victim was Hershberger.

Polen told investigators that he and Hershberger had been drinking at a nearby bar & grill when she left on foot. 

Deputies found Polen's car at the business and it had front-end damage and blood on the car.

When confronted with the findings, Polen admitted that after Hershberger left the bar, he began driving to look for her. He said that as he was driving east on Scenic Highway, he hit something. 

Polen told deputies he thought it was an animal, but when he turned around, he saw a person lying in the road.

Rather than check on Hershberger, deputies say he drove back to the bar and waited for law enforcement to arrive, then walked to the scene.

Polen was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving death, DUI manslaughter and driving without a license.

The crash remains under investigation.

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