At 9:39 a.m., on May 1, 2018, a BCSO Deputy witnessed a suspect, 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.
The Deputy initiated a traffic stop on the suspect; however, the suspect refused to comply and accelerated towards Feather River Boulevard. The Deputy initiated a pursuit, following the suspect onto Feather River Boulevard. The suspect continued driving recklessly at speeds reaching 90 miles per hour.
As soon as the suspect reached Feather River Boulevard and Cal Oak Road, a BCSO Supervisor advised to terminate the pursuit in the interest of public safety. It is common practice for a BCSO Supervisor to monitor a pursuit on the radio and advise to terminate the pursuit when it appears that the danger to continue the pursuit outweighs the need to apprehend the suspect.
The Deputy began decelerating and was in the process of terminating the pursuit when the suspect ran a red light at Oro Dam Boulevard and struck a Chevrolet Sedan with two occupants. The force of the collision caused the suspect’s vehicle to collide with a large tow truck that was facing southbound in the intersection. The tow truck driver sustained minor injuries.
The suspect and both occupants of the Chevrolet Sedan suffered injuries and were transported by ambulance to a local hospital. The accident is being investigated by California Highway Patrol (CHP).
The suspect has been identified as Chris Smith, age 27, from Oroville. Smith was on Post Release Community Supervision for Vehicle Theft and has a Felony Warrant for his arrest for Vehicle Theft and Felony Evading. CHP advised they have a lengthy history of vehicle theft and pursuits with Smith. This year alone, Smith has fled from CHP officers on three occasions. Smith has been charged with Reckless Driving, Felony Evading, Violation of Post Release Community Supervision, and Possession of Burglary Tools. Further charges for Driving Under the Influence may be pending.