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Woman accused of killing Charlotte County deputy claims other cars were at fault

Cassandra Smith claimed to a 911 dispatcher that she was trying to avoid other cars when she crashed into a sheriff's deputy.
cassandra smith zoom court appearance
Posted at 6:01 PM, Nov 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-29 04:46:15-05

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — Cassandra Smith couldn’t tell a Charlotte County 911 dispatcher where she was located or what kind of vehicle she was driving.

The 30-year-old, who is charged with DUI manslaughter for allegedly striking and killing Deputy Christopher Taylor last Tuesday night on I-75, claimed other drivers were at fault for the deadly crash.

“I was trying to get out of the way of the other people in the road,” Smith told the 911 dispatcher.

Smith was driving northbound on I-75 near the Jones Loop exit, when she allegedly swerved from the far-left lane into the paved shoulder and crashed into Taylor.

The 23-year-old Taylor, who later died at the hospital, was standing outside of his patrol vehicle conducting an unrelated traffic stop.

“I am going to have an anxiety attack. I just need to go take my anxiety pills right now,” Smith told the dispatcher.

It’s unclear if Smith did take an anxiety pill.

She was charged with drunk driving.

Smith is being held without bond after a Charlotte County Judge called her a “danger to society.”

This was her second DUI related arrest in the last year-and-a-half.

Parts of the 911 call are censored.

The Sheriff’s Office cited a state law which requires “exempting all information revealing the substance of a confession by a person arrested until there is final disposition in the case.”

When the dispatcher asks Smith what happened, the next few seconds are redacted from the call.

“Ma’am are you injured?” the dispatcher asked.

“No, I am not. I think I may have (censored). I was trying to avoid the cars on the road,” Smith answered.

When the dispatcher asked Smith what kind of car she was driving, Smith replied she didn’t know because it was a rental.

“Are you in a green Jeep?” the dispatcher asks.

Prior 911 calls said a green Jeep hit Taylor.

When the dispatcher asked Smith to put on her hazard lights to keep the vehicle safe on the road, Smith responded she didn’t “know how to do that.”

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