Friday arraignment scheduled following Port Angeles car chase

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A man described as a transient who police say led them on a car chase reaching speeds of 50 mph in a Port Angeles neighborhood Saturday is expected to be arraigned Friday.

Preston Joseph Smith, 42, was charged Monday with one count each of attempting to elude a pursing police vehicle, possession of both heroin and methamphetamine with intent to manufacture or deliver and first-degree driving with a suspended or revoked license, according to Clallam County Superior Court records.

Smith remained in the county jail Wednesday, with bail set at $50,000.

Smith is accused of running from Port Angeles Police Officer Michael Johnson in a Toyota sport utility vehicle after Johnson tried to pull Smith over in the 700 block of South C Street at about 2 p.m.

Johnson said he knew Smith had an active state Department of Corrections warrant out for his arrest.

Reached 50 mph

Smith did not stop, Johnson wrote in his arrest report, and reached speeds of about 50 mph in a chase through residential streets and alleys.

Police said Smith eventually ditched his SUV in the 1000 block of East Seventh Street and fled on foot, triggering a roughly 1-hour search in an area west of C and D streets bounded by West Fifth and West Seventh streets.

Smith was arrested at gunpoint in the 500 block of South C Street.

The search involved about 15 officers from the city Police Department, State Patrol, Clallam County Sheriff's Office, Olympic National Park, U.S. Border Patrol and Lower Elwha tribal police.

Police had considered Smith possibly armed and dangerous during the search.

No firearms were found on him when he was taken into custody, police said.

Johnson said in his report that Smith told him he saw the lights of Johnson's patrol car behind him and “almost stopped” but wanted to go see his girlfriend.

“Smith later said, 'I was just trying to get away. I run pretty good for an old guy,'” Johnson wrote.

Smith also asked Johnson if he saw him “catch air” as he crossed C Street in the SUV.

Johnson told Smith that he had.

“Smith told me that he was 'glad that [he] didn't kill any kids' and apologized for the way he was driving,” Johnson wrote.

Johnson said he found heroin, methamphetamine and a digital scale when he searched the SUV.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: June 25. 2014 7:16PM
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