Madison County

Richmond man piles up trouble in ATV chase

A Richmond man arrested Monday is accused of stealing an all-terrain vehicle and attempting to ram pursuing police cruisers.

Walter F. Smith, 35, of Tates Creek Avenue, was charged with first-degree wanton endangerment, second-degree assault, fleeing and evading police and other charges, Richmond police said.

Shortly before 5 p.m. Monday, Richmond police were dispatched to a report of a theft in progress in the 800 block of Duncannon Lane. Police were told that a black Jeep was on the property, and that a man was trying to steal an ATV.

As officers were on their way to the scene, the suspect, whom they later identified as Smith, started the ATV and began to leave the property. A caretaker tried to close a farm gate to prevent the ATV from leaving. Police said Smith rammed the gate, knocked the caretaker to the ground and ran over the man's left arm.

The Jeep and Smith on the ATV managed to get to Duncannon and flee eastbound with Richmond police and Kentucky State Police in pursuit.

As the ATV swerved across a lane of traffic, a Richmond officer tried to avoid a collision but lost control of his car and crashed into a guardrail. The officer suffered minor injury, but there was an estimated $5,000 in damage to his car.

The ATV continued to Golden Leaf Drive, where it had a minor collision with a state police cruiser before wrecking. Smith ran, but officers caught him. The driver of the black Jeep got away.

The caretaker, who was not identified by police, was treated for minor injuries, according to a police release.

At the time of the incident, Smith was on bond for a third-degree burglary that occurred Dec. 9.

Smith was also charged with theft by unlawful taking over $500; first-degree criminal mischief; third-degree criminal mischief; operating an ATV on a roadway; operating an ATV on property without consent; and reckless driving.

Smith remained in the Madison County jail Tuesday afternoon in lieu of a $25,000 full cash bond.

It is anticipated that state police will also file charges in connection with their involvement in the pursuit.