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Turnpike chase in Westmoreland hits 128 mph, police say

Paul Peirce
| Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, 11:03 a.m.
Colby Smith of Dayton, Ohio, is jailed for leading turnpike troopers on a chase through Donegal Twp. at speeds up to 128 mph.
Colby Smith of Dayton, Ohio, is jailed for leading turnpike troopers on a chase through Donegal Twp. at speeds up to 128 mph.

A state trooper patrolling the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Westmoreland County alleges an Ohio man on Monday led troopers on a 2-mile chase that reached 128 mph, then abandoned the car along the toll road in Donegal Township.

The chase began at milepost 99, where Colby E. Smith was clocked driving 86 mph in a 70 mph zone, police said.

Trooper Sherri Campbell of the turnpike station in Somerset said the chase ended about 9:20 a.m. when Smith, 24, was weaving in and out of traffic and crashed into a westbound car. His vehicle came to rest against the center concrete medial at mile marker 97.

Campbell alleges Smith abandoned the 2004 Infiniti sedan he was driving and ran up a steep embankment into the woods along the rural stretch to avoid troopers.

“Smith was later located on foot a few miles from the crash scene and taken into custody. Smith sustained a minor injury to his elbow from the crash,” Campbell wrote in the affidavit filed before Ligonier District Judge Denise Thiel, who ordered Smith be held in the county jail after failing to post $100,000 bond.

“(Smith said) that he was sorry for running but just wanted to get home,” Campbell said.

Campbell said the car had an Ohio license plate but recently had been reported stolen in New York. Smith left his personal identification in the car when he ran, Campbell said.

The driver of the car Smith rear-ended suffered a minor injury.

Smith is charged with aggravated assault, resisting arrest, receiving stolen property, fleeing and eluding, fleeing accidents involving injury, driving without a license, overtaking vehicles in an unsafe manner, driving a vehicle at an unsafe speed, careless driving, reckless driving, failing to render aid after an accident and failing to notify police of an accident.

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2860, ppeirce@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ppeirce_trib.

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