Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Crash-death suspect in court

Man 'panicked' when he saw police

By Jennifer Edwards
Enquirer staff writer

READING - The man accused of leading police on a high-speed pursuit Sunday that ended in a crash that killed a 68-year-old woman pleaded not guilty Tuesday.

Randy D. Smith, 52, of Hartwell, was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and failure to comply with police. He remains jailed in Hamilton County in lieu of $200,000 bond.

His lawyer, Steve Madden, said Smith was not the man suspected of hitting a woman in the face Sunday in a car at the Walgreens drug store parking lot in Evendale, the incident that sparked the chase. When police arrived, Smith panicked and took off, apparently thinking police had a warrant for his arrest, Madden said.

"He wasn't involved at all," Madden said. "He was out in the car and saw these cruisers pull up and was afraid."

Officer Erick Curry chased Smith south on Reading Road into Reading, with speeds reaching about 100 mph.

Evendale Police Chief Gary Foust has said Smith resisted arrest and was subdued by police who shot him twice with a Taser.

Foust said the chase was justified based on the facts police had at the time and other conditions such as weather and light traffic on the flat, straight road.

The investigation into the crash continues. Curry remains on duty.

Smith's car slammed into the back of a car carrying Mabel Trapp and her boyfriend, James Tedder, 57, both of Springfield Township.

Trapp, the passenger, was thrown from the car; Tedder, the driver, suffered minor injuries.

Springdale police ticketed Smith on Oct. 3 on charges including leaving the scene of an accident after his vehicle struck another car stopped at a traffic light at Northland Boulevard and Ohio 4, court records show. On Friday, he pleaded not guilty to those charges and is scheduled to go back to court on that case Dec. 9.


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