Charlotte County Sheriff identifies deputy killed in alleged DUI crash
PUNTA GORDA, Fla. (WWSB) - Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell has identified the deputy who was fatally struck by a motorist while conducting a traffic stop on I-75 near milemarker 163 in Punta Gorda.
Deputy Christopher Taylor was struck and killed in Punta Gorda. Life-saving measures were given on the scene by good Samaritans and later by other deputies.
Taylor was trauma transported to Punta Gorda ShorePoint Health and regrettably succumbed to his injuries.
The driver, identified Cassandra Smith, 30, called 911 after losing control of her Jeep and veering across three lanes into the shoulder striking the deputy’s patrol vehicle which in turn hit the deputy. Smith was taken into custody by Florida Highway Patrol and transported to the Charlotte County Jail on charges of DUI Manslaughter. Smith is from Massachussetts.
Bill Prummell said this is Smith’s second DUI charge and that she had just gotten off probation for the first.
Deputy Taylor joined the agency in August of 2021 and was officially sworn in on February 14. 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. Chris just celebrated his 23rd birthday on Saturday. Losing a deputy is unspeakably difficult for the agency, but the passing of such a promising and kind young man is a tremendous loss for the world,” shared Sheriff Bill Prummell.
Details regarding services will be forthcoming. The department is asking the community to keep the family and friends of Deputy Taylor in their thoughts and prayers. A makeshift memorial has been placed in front of Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.
FHP is investigating the crash.
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