Florida sheriff’s deputy killed by passing vehicle identified; woman arrested

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — A passing vehicle struck and killed a Florida sheriff’s deputy who was conducting a traffic stop in Charlotte County, authorities said.

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According to WBBH and WFTX, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office said the incident occurred shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday on Interstate 75. Cassandra Smith, 30, of Lakeville, Massachusetts, is facing a DUI manslaughter charge in connection with the death of the unidentified deputy, who was 23 years old, the outlets reported.

Here are the latest updates:

Deputy killed identified by sheriff’s office

Update 1:48 a.m. EST Nov. 24: According to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, the deputy killed was 23-year-old Christopher Taylor.

Taylor joined the agency in August 2021 and was officially sworn in on Feb. 14, 2022, Sheriff Bill Prummell said in a statement. He is survived by his parents and fiancé.

“In his little less than a year of service to Charlotte County, Chris exemplified the core values of the CCSO; Integrity, Professionalism, and Trust,” Prummell said. “Chris just celebrated his 23rd birthday on Saturday. Losing a deputy is unspeakably difficult for the office.

“The passing of such a promising and kind young man is a tremendous loss for Charlotte County and all the world.”

Massachusetts woman arrested on DUI manslaughter charge

Update 6:51 a.m. EST Nov. 23: A Massachusetts woman is facing a DUI manslaughter charge in connection with the death of a Florida sheriff’s deputy, multiple news outlets are reporting.

According to WBBH, authorities said said Cassandra Smith, 30, of Lakeville, Massachusetts, was driving a Jeep shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday on Interstate 75 northbound in Charlotte County. Smith lost control of the vehicle and veered onto the shoulder of the freeway, where a 23-year-old Charlotte County sheriff’s deputy was conducting a traffic stop of a Honda, the Florida Highway Patrol said. Troopers said the Jeep struck the deputy’s unoccupied vehicle, which then hit the deputy and the Honda, WFTX and WBBH reported.

The deputy later died at a Punta Gorda hospital, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office said. The Honda’s driver was treated for minor injuries, and a passenger in the Honda was unharmed, authorities told WFTX.

Smith was arrested and taken to the Charlotte County Jail, according to the news stations.

Deputy struck, killed by passing vehicle during I-75 traffic stop

Original report: A passing vehicle struck and killed a Florida sheriff’s deputy who was conducting a traffic stop in Charlotte County, authorities said.

According to WBBH and WFTX, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office said the incident occurred Tuesday evening on Interstate 75. The deputy was rushed to a Punta Gorda hospital and died, Sheriff Bill Prummell said.

“Please pray for the family, friends and all his law enforcement family who stand behind him,” the department wrote in a Facebook post.

No further information, including the deputy’s identity, was immediately available. The Florida Highway Patrol continues to investigate, the news outlets reported.

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