A woman accused of killing a Charlotte County deputy in a DUI crash on I-75 faces six charges and will be held without bond.
Cassandra Smith, of Lakeville, Massachusetts, faced Judge Geoffrey Gentile on Thursday morning after a crash that killed 23-year-old Deputy Christopher Taylor during a traffic stop.
The defense argued, “The defendant who stands before your honor is 30 years old. She has one prior criminal conviction on her record, and it is not for a DUI, [it] is for reckless driving. She does have ties to this community in that her parents owned a home in Punta Gorda Isles for 20 years.”
Smith’s lawyer emphasized that the Boston University graduate has ties to the community: Her parents owned a home in Punta Gorda Isles for more than 20 years, and Smith often spent time there while visiting them.
The state insisted Smith is a danger to society. “The defendant had been arrested for DUI, pled out to a reckless where she’s still got the DUI school. And then less than eight months since she has gotten her license back, her license actually expired three days prior to the crash, which is another indicator of why we believe she’s a danger to the community.”
This is her second DUI arrest after finishing 12 months of probation. She is accused of making the same mistake again, killing a man.
Judge Gentile said it took him time to decide how best to protect the community from Smith.
“I woke up at three o’clock in the morning thinking about, ‘I wonder if there’s something I can do to protect the community,'” said Judge Gentile.
The judge decided Smith should be held without bond in Massachusetts. He cited the risk of Smith drinking and driving recklessly again, even while wearing a GPS bracelet at home.
“That’s the thing, I need to protect the community,” said Judge Gentile. “I find that the bond… or even the scramblers, that those things don’t do, nothing blows up and stop somebody from getting a car after they’ve drank and driving fast. So I can’t protect the community. And she’s shown twice that she needs to happen in very short order. Twice in two years.”
Smith’s lawyer said they could appeal the no-bond ruling but said a decision to do so had not been made.
Smith is charged with four counts of DUI – damage to property or person of another, one count of DUI with death to human, and one count of refusal to submit to DUI testing after her license was suspended. Her arraignment will be on Jan. 3.