Franklin Man Facing Charges for Fleeing Traffic Stop

| July 17, 2019

SUGARCREEK BOROUGH, Pa. (EYT) – A Franklin man will be formally arraigned this week on charges from an incident in which he allegedly fled police in Sugarcreek Borough earlier this year.

Court documents indicate 21-year-old Raymond E. Smith III, of Franklin, is scheduled to stand for a formal arraignment in front of Judge Robert L. Boyer at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 18, on the following charges:

– Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Officer, Felony 3
– No Headlights, Summary
– Driving at Safe Speed, Summary
– Reckless Driving, Summary
– Drive While Operator Privilege Suspended Or Revoked, Summary
– Drive Unregistered Vehicle, Summary

According to a criminal complaint, around 10:55 p.m. on April 9, Lt. Ashbaugh, of the Sugarcreek Borough Police Department, was monitoring traffic near the intersection of State Route 427 and US 322 when he observed a light-colored vehicle travel off of Route 427 onto US 322 eastbound without any functioning lighting on the front passenger side of the vehicle.

Lt. Ashbaugh then pulled out and attempted to initiate a traffic stop on the vehicle.

According to the complaint, the vehicle continued to pull away, reaching speeds greater than 90 miles per hour.

Lt. Ashbaugh continued to pursue the vehicle, which went into the oncoming lane on a blind right-hand curve in an attempt to pass another vehicle. Lt. Ashbaugh lost sight of the vehicle for a short time, but observed it traveling north on Patchel Run Road. Lt. Ashbaugh was unable to safely make the turn, and then lost sight of the vehicle again and canceled the pursuit.

On April 10, Lt. Ashbaugh viewed security footage from businesses in the area and found the vehicle in question to be a silver compact four-door with a black or dark-colored front fender area. Then on April 16, Lt. Ashbaugh received an anonymous tip that the driver of the vehicle involved in the pursuit was Raymond Ellsworth Smith III and that Smith had made contact with his mother the morning after the pursuit via cell phone messages.

Lt. Ashbaugh then spoke to Smith’s mother, who did not want to give any information. She allegedly stated that Smith had contacted her the following morning, but said the messages did not make sense and that he was hiding and said he was not moving from his location. She reported that when she asked if the police were looking for him, he said “yes.” She went on to say that Smith said he didn’t know where he was, so neither did she, the complaint indicates.

The complaint notes that she also said Smith stated he ran from the police and went up Patchel Run Road where he “lost them.”

Lt. Ashbaugh then showed both of Smith’s parents the photo of the vehicle, and according to the complaint, both reluctantly stated it was their son’s vehicle.

A later check of Smith’s driving record found him to be a suspended driver, and the registration on the vehicle was found to be expired, according to the complaint.

The charges were then filed through Magisterial District Judge Patrick E. Lowrey on April 17 and were waived for court and transferred to Venango County Court of Common Pleas on June 5.

Smith is currently free on a $15,000.00 surety posted by a professional bondsman.

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