Charlotte deputy killed by suspected drunk driver, troopers says

A memorial has been set up at headquarters for a Charlotte County Deputy.
A memorial has been set up at headquarters for a Charlotte County Deputy.(WWSB)
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 6:37 AM EST
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UPDATED at 9:15 a.m. with name of suspect.

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. (WWSB) - A Charlotte County sheriff’s deputy died Tuesday night after being hit by a suspected drunk driver during a traffic stop on I-75, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

Troopers say the deputy was conducting a traffic stop at about 8:45 p.m. on northbound I-75, south of U.S. 17. While the deputy and the driver of the sedan were standing on the shoulder of the interstate, a Jeep driven by a 30-year-old woman identified as Cassandra Smith from Lakeville, Massachusetts veered from the left-hand lane, crossed the center and right lanes, and onto the shoulder.

The Jeep hit the deputy’s patrol SUV, which then crashed into the sedan as well as the the deputy and the other driver, investigators said.

The deputy and other driver were taken to area hospitals. The 23-year-old deputy later died of his injuries; the other driver suffered serious injuries, troopers say. A passenger in the sedan was not injured.

The woman driving the Jeep was not injured; she was placed under arrest on charges of DUI manslaughter and was booked into the Charlotte County Jail.