Laurel man arrested following 27-mile pursuit in 2 counties

Feb. 15—A 27-mile pursuit from eastern Laurel County into Clay County last Thursday now has a Laurel man looking at felony charges, including wanton endangerment of police officers.

Gary Dean Smith, 55, of East Laurel Road in London, gave law enforcement officials a literal run for their lives after he tried to avoid a traffic checkpoint along Blackwater Road, six miles east of London.

Rather than stop for the traffic check, the Laurel County Sheriff's Office reported that Smith pulled into a driveway nearby. When Sheriff's Deputy Brent France and London Police Officer Joey Robinson approached the vehicle, Smith fled by driving his Chevy Tahoe through the residence's yard and around the back of the house re-entering KY 80, and entered Clay County. Smith was reportedly brandishing a machete out the window at officers during the chase.

While traveling in Clay County, Smith saw a Clay County Deputy's vehicle approaching him and veered over into the other lane in an attempt to hit the oncoming vehicle. That forced the Clay County officer off the roadway, striking a culvert to avoid collision.

Smith then continued to drive toward Manchester, then turned onto the Hal Rogers Parkway and headed back toward London. During that chase, Smith nearly struck five vehicles as well as trying to ram the Laurel County police cruisers.

London City Police officers and Kentucky State Police troopers used spike strips to stop Smith's vehicle along the pursuit. Smith, however, continued to elude officers, traveling along Watkins Road to Flat Lick Road before the vehicle was disabled and went into a field.

Smith still wasn't ready to give up — jumping from the vehicle and running on foot to avoid the officers. After he was apprehended, Smith attempted to punch and kick France.

He now faces charges of first-degree wanton endangerment — police officer as victim; second-degree wanton endangerment; second-degree fleeing or evading police — on foot; first-degree fleeing or evading police — motor vehicle; second-degree disorderly conduct; resisting arrest; careless driving and reckless driving. In addition, Clay County Sheriff's deputies charged the suspect with attempted murder of a police officer along with criminal mischief, fleeing and evading police, and resisting arrest.

Smith was taken to the hospital for injuries sustained during the pursuit, but was lodged in the Laurel County Correctional Center following his release from the hospital. He is held under $25,000 cash bond for some of the charges and $100,000 on other charges.