Charlotte County, FL – A Charlotte County sheriff’s deputy was fatally struck by a suspected drunk driver as he was conducting a traffic stop on Tuesday night.
The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) said the incident began when the unidentified Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) deputy stopped a vehicle on I-75 northbound, south of U.S. 17, at approximately 8:45 p.m. on Nov. 22, WWSB reported.
The deputy parked his patrol SUV on the paved shoulder with his emergency lights activated and got out to speak with the driver of the Honda he had stopped, according to WBBH.
The Honda driver and the deputy were both standing on the shoulder of the interstate when a woman driving a Jeep in the left lane allegedly lost control, veered over the center and right lanes, and slammed into the back of the patrol SUV that was parked on the paved shoulder, the FHP said.
The impact shoved the SUV into the deputy, the driver of the Honda, and the Honda, according to WBBH.
Police said the Honda driver suffered serious injuries in the collision and was transported to the hospital for treatment, WWSB reported.
The Honda driver’s condition was not immediately released.
A passenger in the Honda was not injured, according to WFTV.
The 23-year-old deputy suffered major injuries in the crash and was rushed to Shorepoint Health in Punta Gorda, where he was pronounced dead, WBBH reported.
The fallen hero’s identity was not immediately released.
The Jeep driver who caused the collision has been identified as 30-year-old Cassandra Smith, WBBH reported.
Smith, who hails from Lakeville, Massachusetts, was not injured in the crash, according to WWSB.
She has been arrested for DUI manslaughter and was being held at the Charlotte County Jail.
No other information was immediately released.
The FHP is handling the ongoing investigation into the deadly collision, WFTV reported.
A Charlotte County deputy was killed while conducting a traffic stop on I-75. The deputy was struck by a passing motorist and then transported to ShorePoint Health in Punta Gorda. Several patrol cars and deputies are here right now pic.twitter.com/XQpQiQfOaf
— Asha Patel (@asha_pat) November 23, 2022
Sheriff Prummell confirms heartbreaking news about the loss of one of our deputies after being fatally struck by a vehicle while conducting a traffic stop on I-75. Please pray for the family, friends, and all his law enforcement family who stand behind him.
— Charlotte County Sheriff's Office-Sheriff Prummell (@CCSOFLSheriff) November 23, 2022
We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the fallen Charlotte County Sheriff's Deputy. Please keep @CCSOFLSheriff and the deputy’s family in your thoughts & prayers. This tragedy is another reminder of the dangers that our brave first responders face daily.
— FLHSMV (@FLHSMV) November 23, 2022
Please people for the love of god slow down on the interstate and move over when you see flashing lights ! Sadly we lost a deputy last nite here in Charlotte county Florida and this hits close to my heart that could have been my son !! pic.twitter.com/8SSlkQGOe3
— nikki (@nikki_plora) November 23, 2022
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