A Florida sheriff’s deputy has been arrested in connection with the death of a Massachusetts woman who was struck and killed by a car Tuesday night, days after celebrating her 23rd birthday.
Charlotte County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Taylor was in the middle of conducting a traffic stop on Interstate 75 near the Duncan Road exit when he was fatally struck by a speeding vehicle.
She was taken to a hospital where she died, Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Promel said.
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“He celebrated his 23rd birthday on Saturday,” Promel noted. “Losing a deputy, 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 world.”
Prummel 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 has been identified as 30-year-old Cassandra Smith of Lakeville, Massachusetts. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI manslaughter.
It was his second DUI arrest and he completed his probation in August, Promel said.
Investigators believe Smith was traveling northbound on the freeway when he lost control of his Jeep and entered the shoulder from the left lane. He then crashed into the back of Taylor’s parked patrol car, Fox Tampa reported.
A third vehicle, a Honda, was parked in front of Taylor’s vehicle. The 29-year-old driver of the vehicle was admitted to hospital with serious injuries. A passenger, a 28-year-old man, was not injured.
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Smith called 911 after the crash and was taken into custody by troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol.