Lakeville woman charged with DUI manslaughter in death of officer

Nov 24, 2022

A 30-year-old Lakeville woman, Cassandra Smith, faces charges of DUI manslaughter after she allegedly struck and killed a 23-year-old sheriff’s deputy Nov. 22 in Charlotte County, Fla, according to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Taylor was conducting a traffic stop on I-75 in Punta Gorda, Fla. when Smith reportedly lost control of her Jeep, the sheriff’s office reported. She then veered across three lanes into the shoulder of the road and hit the deputy’s vehicle, which subsequently struck the deputy, according to information provided by the sheriff’s office. 

Taylor later died at a nearby hospital.

Smith was taken into custody by Florida Highway Patrol and transported to the Charlotte County Jail on charges of DUI Manslaughter. She is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 3. 

Taylor’s “kindness, dedication, and service to his community will never be forgotten,’’ according to a blog post from the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.

The situation remains an active and ongoing criminal investigation conducted by the Florida Highway Patrol.