A Massachusetts woman has been arrested in connection with the death of a Florida sheriff’s deputy who was struck and killed by a vehicle Tuesday night, days after celebrating his 23rd birthday.
Charlotte County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Taylor was conducting a traffic stop on Interstate 75 near the Duncan Road exit when he was fatally struck by a speeding vehicle.
He was taken to a hospital where he died, Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell said.
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“He just celebrated his 23rd birthday on Saturday,” Prummell said. “Losing an officer, a member of our family, is indescribably difficult for the (sheriff’s) office. The passing of such a promising and kind young man is a tremendous loss to Charlotte County and the entire world.”
Prummell said Taylor joined the sheriff’s office in August 2021 and was officially sworn in in February.
The driver of the vehicle that struck Taylor was identified as Cassandra Smith, 30, of Lakeville, Massachusetts. She was arrested on suspicion of DUI manslaughter.
It was his second DUI arrest and he had just completed his probation in August, Prummell said.
Investigators believe Smith was traveling north on the freeway when he lost control of his Jeep, veered out of the left lane and onto the shoulder. He then slammed into the back of Taylor’s parked patrol vehicle, Fox Tampa reported.
A third vehicle, a Honda, was parked in front of Taylor’s vehicle. The 29-year-old driver of that car was hospitalized with serious injuries. A 28-year-old male passenger was uninjured.
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Smith called 911 after the crash and was pulled over by Florida Highway Patrol officers.