The driver who killed Charlotte County Deputy Christopher Taylor on Tuesday had prior DUI.

The driver, identified as 30-year-old Cassandra Smith (11/20/92).

Cassandra Smith smiled for her mugshot when she was booked into the Charlotte County Jail.

 

Smith lost control of her Jeep and veered across three lanes into the shoulder striking the deputy’s patrol vehicle which in turn hit the deputy. Smith was taken into custody by Florida Highway Patrol and transpor

ted to the Charlotte County Jail on charges of DUI Manslaughter. In April of 2021, Cassandra Smith was arrested and charged with DUI in Palm Beach County. She was recklessly driving on State Route 80, going at least 90 miles per hour. When deputies pulled her over, she was slurring her words and reeked of alcohol. Smith was on probation for a year. She also had to pass a breathalyzer for her car to start for six months. Now, a few months after her probation ended, investigators say Smith drove drunk again. This time, with tragic consequences.

Deputy Taylor joined the agency in August of 2021 and was officially sworn in on February 14. He

is survived by his parents and fiancé. “In his little less than a year of service to Charlotte County, Chris exemplified the core values of the CCSO; Integrity, Professionalism, and Trust. Chris just celebrated his 23rd birthday on Saturday. 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,” shared Sheriff Bill Prummell.

Details regarding services will be forthcoming. Please keep the family and friends of Deputy Taylor in your thoughts and prayers as we mourn the loss of our brother. His kindness, dedication, and service to his community will never be forgotten.

This is an active and ongoing criminal investigation conducted by the Florida Highway Patrol. Please direct any case-related questions to FHP.