PUNTA GORDA — A Charlotte County Sheriff’s deputy has been killed during a traffic stop on Interstate 75.
Cassandra Smith, 30, of Lakeville, Massachusetts, “was placed under arrest for DUI manslaughter, and is in the process of being booked into the Charlotte County Jail,” FHP Lt. Greg Bueno stated in an email early Wednesday.
The deputy pulled over a vehicle on I-75. Both the deputy and the driver were outside their vehicles on the shoulder of the highway when the crash happened, the FHP report shows. The woman was driving an SUV north in the left lane on I-75 near the U.S. 17 exit when she lost control of her vehicle, crossed the center and right lanes and veered on to the shoulder of the road, the FHP reported.
Smith crashed into the deputy’s patrol vehicle, which hit the deputy, the other driver and the other vehicle.
The FHP did not name the deputy in the report, but stated he was 23 years old.
The deputy was taken to Shorepoint Punta Gorda Hospital, but succumbed to the injuries sustained in the crash, Sheriff Bill Prummell said in a video statement posted on Facebook early Wednesday.
“There will be more details to follow,” Prummell said. “We’re not going to be releasing the name of the deputy right now, due to the fact that not all of the family members have been notified. But please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you and God bless.”
The other driver, a 29-year-old Haines City man, was taken to a hospital where he was treated for minor injuries, the report states. A passenger in that vehicle, a 28-year-old man, was not injured.
The crash remains under investigation, the FHP reported