Punta Gorda woman killed in US-41 crash, other driver facing charges

Published: August 30, 2021 10:37 AM EDT
Updated: August 31, 2021 5:01 AM EDT
Sedan wrecked in a fatal crash on US-41 in Port Charlotte. Credit: Florida Highway Patrol

A Punta Gorda woman was killed in a crash on US-41 Monday morning, and the other driver, 23-year-old Devon Barber, faces criminal charges.

Investigators say Barber was in a Ford sedan traveling southbound in the center travel lane of US-41 around 2 a.m., approaching Olean Boulevard at a high speed. A Kia sedan driven by the 37-year-old woman from Punta Gorda was traveling southbound on US-41 directly in front of the Ford. Barber was unable to stop before rear-ending the Kia with his Ford.

The collision sent the Kia off US-41, onto the grassy shoulder. The Ford was redirected into the northbound travel lanes of US-41.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene by Charlotte County emergency medical services.

Barber was  arrested and taken to the Charlotte County Jail. He faces three counts of property damage, one count of vehicular homicide and one count of DUI manslaughter.

Barber’s arrest page lists him as a U.S. Navy engineer.

FHP says Barber was driving at double the speed limit leading up to the crash, closing in on 100 mph.

“The consequences of this crash are devastating to two families,” Trooper Ken Watson said. “The family of the person who was killed, and the family of the person who is now facing a lot of prison time. There’s only victims in this.”

Troopers say, had this been later in the day, the crash could have killed more.