A 21-year-old killed in a crash involving a Collier County Sheriff’s deputy is being remembered as a caring and considerate soul.
Andrew Rakes, a 2008 Naples High graduate, died Sunday from injuries he sustained in Thursday night’s crash in Golden Gate.
“He was always really nice to people and people always thought highly of him,” said Rakes’ 22-year-old stepbrother Zachary Bell.
The crash happened around 9:45 p.m. at the intersection of 22nd Place Southwest and Santa Barbara Boulevard. According to Florida Highway Patrol Reports, a 2002 Chevrolet Impala being driven by Rakes was stopped facing west on 22nd Place Southwest at the stop sign at Santa Barbara Boulevard. Meanwhile, Sheriff’s Cpl. Jesse Todd was driving a Sheriff’s Office 2005 Ford Crown Victoria headed north on the outside lane of Santa Barbara Boulevard approaching 22nd Place Southwest.
Reports said the CCSO K-9 unit was in emergency mode, with its emergency lights and siren activated en route to a call. According to Sheriff’s Office officials, the K-9 unit was on the way to assist with a foot pursuit in North Naples when the crash occurred.
At about 9:45 p.m., Florida Highway Patrol reports said Rakes drove the Impala forward into the intersection and the squad car’s path.
However, conflicting stories on whether or not Todd was driving with his emergency lights and siren on, have left the family asking questions and hoping eyewitnesses to the crash would come forward to help the family.
“It would be wonderful if they would call the FHP and stay anonymous and tell the truth,” said Rakes’ mother Sarah Bell, a nurse at NCH Downtown Hospital.
Todd’s attorney in the sheriff’s and FHP investigation, Michelle Hill of Naples, said any reports that Todd wasn’t using his lights or siren are “absolutely incorrect.”
“He had his lights and siren on and he was on the radio at least two times before that, ‘running code,’ “ Hill said, referring to the lights and siren. “That can be substantiated.”
Hill, who wasn't hired by Todd, is among several local attorneys under contract by the sheriff's office to represent deputies involved in crashes, criminal probes or internal affairs investigations.
Andrew “Drew” Rakes’ funeral will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Muller-Thompson Funeral Chapel, 2011 Pine Ridge Road, in North Naples. Visitation will be Thursday and Friday from 5 to 7 p.m.
Rakes was passionate about fitness and soccer. He also liked to play guitar and listen to music with friends.
According to Amber Copeland, Rakes’ sister, her brother wanted to go to college and at first wanted to study to be a brain surgeon. However, he opted instead to pursue a degree in physical therapy.
“He was ahead of his years,” said Copeland, a Golden Gate Estates resident, adding that her brother was an organ donor whose death saved the lives of at least five people, one of whom got his heart.
“He was a fitness fanatic. He exercised a lot, at least an hour a day, and donated blood.”
Rakes also doted on Copeland’s 18-month-old daughter Crista. “He was a great uncle,” she said. “He loved her to death. You could see it in his face when he saw her, the way he smiled.”