Crime - Sacto 911

Man with history of fleeing officers is in custody following Butte County collision

Chris Smith
Chris Smith Butte County Sheriff's Office

An Oroville man with a history of fleeing law enforcement officers is in custody in Butte County after allegedly trying to evade a sheriff's deputy, and colliding with a sedan and a tow truck.

The incident began at 9:39 a.m. Tuesday when a Butte County sheriff's deputy saw a man, later identified as 27-year-old Chris Smith, in a Volkswagen Jetta driving recklessly and crossing over a double yellow line in an effort to pass vehicles in the area of Ophir Road and Baggett Marysville Road in Oroville, according to a Sheriff's Office news release.

The deputy attempted a traffic stop, but the driver accelerated toward Feather River Boulevard. The officer gave chase as the Jetta continued being driven in reckless manner, reaching speeds of 90 mph, the news release said.

When the suspect reached Feather River Boulevard and Cal Oak Road, a sheriff's supervisor advised the deputy to end the pursuit in the interest of public safety.

As the deputy began to slow down and end the chase, the Jetta ran a red light at Oro Dam Boulevard and struck a Chevrolet sedan with two occupants. The force of that collision caused the suspect's vehicle to then collide with a tow truck that was facing south in the intersection, the news release said.

Smith and the occupants of the sedan were transported by ambulance to an area hospital with injuries, while the tow truck driver sustained what the Sheriff's Office described as minor injuries.

The California Highway Patrol in investigating the collision.

Smith was on post release community supervision for vehicle theft and had a felony warrant for his arrest for vehicle theft and felony evading, the news release said. The CHP reported that Smith has a lengthy history of vehicle thefts and pursuits, fleeing from CHP officers on three occasions so far this year, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Smith is accused of reckless driving, felony evading, violation of post release community supervision and possession of burglary tools. He may also face charges of driving under the influence, the news release said.

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