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Smith charged for hammer attack, car chase
Car Chase Video by Steven Walker.jpg
To watch a brief video of the car fleeing from officers on Sparta Street, visit

Car Chase - 10-21

Car chase recorded by Steven Walker

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A high-speed chase through the city of McMinnville on Thursday morning allegedly began with a hammer assault.

John E. Smith, 61, has been charged with evading arrest, reckless endangerment, felon in possession of a firearm, and aggravated assault.

According to Warren County Sheriff’s Department, the assault occurred on Manchester Highway at the Exxon Serve 2 Go Market in Morrison.

“The caller advised that there was a gold four-door car, which turned out to be a 2003 Buick Lesabre, that had left the scene and there was a male who had been kicked out of the car bleeding from his head,” said sheriff’s deputy Brystol Davis. “They also said a female had exited the car on the side of the road.”

The vehicle was spotted on Manchester Highway in the area of Shangri La Lane. Deputy Jared Jacobs tried to initiate a stop.

“I observed deputy Jacobs initiate his lights,” said Davis. “I and McMinnville Police detective Austin Wortman were behind Jacobs. The vehicle then failed to stop and fled from officers.”

The pursuit continued on Highway 55 bypass toward Sparta Highway. Just outside the city limits, Sheriff’s Department Major Jason Walker was waiting with spike strips.

“I was able to successfully spike the two passenger-side tires,” said Walker. “The car then pulled to the right-hand side of the road, and the male was taken into custody after a short struggle.”

The victim of the assault was transported from the gas station in Morrison to Ascension Saint Thomas River Park Hospital where an interview with law enforcement was conducted.

“He said that John Smith had struck him in the head with a hammer after pulling a gun on him,” said deputy Davis. The victim, woman, and Smith had all been sleeping in the car.

“He said he did this because he wasn’t happy over the deal they made for Mr. Smith to sign the title to the car over to him. He said he woke him up yelling ‘let’s go!’ and then pulled a gun and made threats to shoot him. He then went and got a hammer from the trunk and hit him over the head, took the car and left.”

The female confirmed the attack.

“She said she was asleep and didn’t know what was going on until she saw Mr. Smith hit the victim over the head with a hammer and point a gun at him,” said Davis. “She said Mr. Smith yanked him out of the car then drove off and forgot she was in the car. Smith then pulled over and she got out.”

Smith allegedly admitted to throwing the gun from the vehicle because he was on parole. The weapon was located roadside near where the pursuit began. 

Smith’s total bond is $100,000. His initial court date is Nov. 2.