Man flees from police in stolen SUV

A Brown County man led police on a chase in an SUV, on foot and in water downtown Saturday morning, April 16.

In the 8 a.m. hour, Nashville Police Officer Kyle Seward tried to stop a white Ford Explorer after he checked the vehicle’s plates and saw it had been stolen from Morgan County.

The driver was Travis L. Smith, 29, Hassettown Road, Seward’s report said.

Seward had talked with Smith earlier that morning. The officer had received a report of a man going to door to door asking for gas money on Old State Road 46.

Seward saw him standing outside a vehicle with a gas can. Smith told the officer he had just run out of gas, but they’d soon be on their way because they’d just gotten some, the report said.

That’s when Seward checked the plate and learned it was stolen.

Seward followed Smith to East Washington Street. When the officer turned on his lights, Smith accelerated and ran through the intersections with Van Buren, Jefferson and Johnson streets.

West Washington Street dead-ends at a field. Smith opened the driver’s door and jumped out, and the Explorer continued into the field, the report said.

Seward chased Smith until he jumped into Jackson Branch of Salt Creek and swam halfway across.

Smith was having difficulty swimming since the water level was around his neck, and he complained of the water being very cold, the affidavit said.

Brown County Sheriff’s Deputy Chad Williams and Seward drew their handguns on Smith, who raised his arms. Smith told officers he only had a knife on him and Seward helped him out of the creek, the report said.

Smith told officers he had borrowed the car from a friend in Martinsville and did not know it was stolen.

He said he ran because he had a syringe in his vehicle and his passenger had meth on her, and he “could not get another possession charge,” the affidavit said.

Deputy Brian Shrader detained the passenger. She told police Smith had kidnapped her at gunpoint with a handgun that was in the vehicle. Police were unable to find a gun in the Explorer.

Smith said the woman wasn’t telling the truth. He said the two had been dating off and on for months and he had picked her up the night before at Night Moves in Bloomington after borrowing the vehicle.

He said they came to Brown County to visit Smith’s cousin, then left to drink and do methamphetamine, the report said. He said he was on his way to return the vehicle when he ran out of gas.

Smith was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital for treatment of a fractured ankle and for a chemical test. He was booked into the Brown County jail in a wheelchair.

Smith was charged with resisting law enforcement, a Level 6 felony; resisting law enforcement, a Class A misdemeanor; and unlawful possession of a syringe, a Level 6 felony.

The same afternoon, officers went to the home of Smith’s cousin, Noah Ford, in the 4000 block of Clay Lick Road to learn more about the kidnapping claim the woman made.

Ford told police that she had seemed fine and she could have left at any time.

Ford had an outstanding warrant for drug possession from Brown County and was taken into custody.

The vehicle was returned to the owner.