Deputy killed by suspected drunk driver during traffic stop, officials say

While the deputy and the driver were standing on the shoulder of I-75, an oncoming Jeep veered...
While the deputy and the driver were standing on the shoulder of I-75, an oncoming Jeep veered from the left-hand lane, crossed the center and right lanes, and drove onto the shoulder.(Daniel Tadevosyan/Getty Images via Canva)
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 6:21 AM HST
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PUNTA GORDA, Fla. (WWSB/Gray News) – A deputy in Florida was killed Tuesday night when he was hit by a suspected drunk driver during a traffic stop, according to Florida Highway Patrol.

The deputy with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office has not yet been named, but officials said he was just 23 years old.

FHP said the deputy was conducting a traffic stop on Interstate 75 in Punta Gorda around 8:45 p.m. Tuesday and pulled over a car.

While the deputy and the driver were standing on the shoulder of I-75, an oncoming Jeep veered from the left-hand lane, crossed the center and right lanes, and drove onto the shoulder.

The Jeep then crashed into the deputy’s patrol vehicle, which then crashed into the car that was pulled over, hitting the deputy and the other driver.

The deputy and other driver were taken to the hospital, where the deputy later died. The other driver suffered serious injuries, FHP said.

A passenger in the car that was pulled over was not injured.

The driver of the Jeep was identified as 30-year-old Cassandra Smith from Massachusetts. She was uninjured in the crash.

Smith was arrested on charges of DUI manslaughter and booked into the Charlotte County Jail.

Charlotte County is located on the gulf coast of Florida, just north of Fort Myers.