A Wythe County man is in jail on numerous charges after leading several law enforcement agencies on a chase through the Twin Counties and striking a police vehicle early Tuesday morning.
A joint press release issued by the Galax Police Department, Hillsville Police Department and Carroll County Sheriff’s Office gave details of the incident. Galax Police Officer Darren Alley stopped a maroon SUV for speeding on East Stuart Drive in Galax just after midnight on the morning of April 3.
“When Alley exited his patrol vehicle, the driver of the SUV sped off. Officer Alley pursued the SUV out of the city limits and contacted Carroll County authorities for assistance,” the press release stated. “Carroll County Deputy Jason Helton was traveling on U.S. 58 near Breezy Ridge Road when he met the maroon SUV and the Galax Officer and joined in the pursuit.”
Authorities said as the SUV entered the area of Miller’s Bakery, it crossed from the Eastbound lane into the Westbound lane heading toward oncoming traffic. The SUV traveled in the Westbound lane until he reached the Wendy’s parking lot in Hillsville, cut up into the lot and then into the Shoney’s parking lot.
“Deputies and Hillsville Police Department officers tried to contain the SUV into the lot, but he ran off the bank back onto U.S. 58, still heading East in the Westbound lane. The SUV continued onto Interstate 77 heading north,” according to the press release. “Several attempts were made to block the SUV in on I-77 by Hillsville Police Department and Carroll County deputies. The SUV attempted several times to strike the police cars before the driver rammed the back of one of the Hillsville Police cars, driven by Officer Cory Smith.”
After striking Officer Smith’s car, in the area of mile marker 23 North on I-77, officers and deputies attempted to box the SUV in again. The SUV then turned through the median, crossing both lanes of I-77 Southbound traffic and running up onto a bank.
“As the car stopped, Deputy Jason Helton and Hillsville Police Department Officer Cory Smith both drove their cars into the driver’s side door of the SUV to get him to stop. The driver of the car exited the vehicle and acted as if he was complying with orders,” according to the press release. “As officers moved in to take him into custody, the driver started kicking his feet and kicked Trooper Kale Cheek. Deputy Helton attempted to use his taser but was unable to make contact. Deputy Helton deployed his taser a second time and it was successful.”
Police said Caleb Michael Smith, 22, was taken into custody. The Hillsville Police Department had one patrol car damaged as did the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the release, Smith was taken before the magistrate and charged with felony assault on a law enforcement officer and numerous traffic offenses, including reckless driving, felony attempt to elude law enforcement officers in Galax, Hillsville and Carroll County.
“More charges are expected,” the press release stated. “Smith is being held in the New River Valley Regional Jail without bond.