Charlotte County, Florida deputy killed by suspected drunk driver during traffic stop, sheriff says

A deputy with the Charlotte County, Florida Sheriff's Office was conducting a traffic stop along Interstate 75 on Tuesday night when a suspected DUI driver crashed into his patrol car, which was then pushed into him. That deputy was transported to the hospital where he died, Sheriff Bill Prummell said Wednesday.

He identified the Charlotte County deputy as 23-year-old Christopher Taylor. He said Deputy Taylor celebrated his 23rd birthday days earlier, and that he had been with the sheriff's office for less than a year.

"In his little less than a year of service to Charlotte County, Chris exemplified the core values of the CCSO; Integrity, Professionalism, and Trust," Sheriff Prummell said. "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."

Deputy Taylor joined CCSO in August 2021 and was officially sworn-in on Feb. 14, 2022, he said.

The person who allegedly struck the deputy's vehicle – 30-year-old Cassandra Smith – was arrested and booked into jail under suspicion of DUI manslaughter. Sheriff Prummell said Smith had previously been arrested for DUI and had recently completed her probation program.

Sheriff Prummell said Smith lost control of her Jeep and crossed three lanes of traffic before striking the deputy's vehicle.

Funeral details would be announced as soon as they're confirmed, he said.