Bemidji Man Charged for Fleeing Police, Crashing Into Mall Doors
A Bemidji man is charged with two felonies and two misdemeanors for fleeing from police in his vehicle and then crashing into the front doors of the Paul Bunyan Mall in Bemidji.
According to the criminal complaint in the case, a Bemidji police officer responded to a call Tuesday of a man having mental health concerns at the Bemidji Sanford Health walk-in clinic. The officer located Damian Smith and told him he should go to the emergency room instead and told him he would follow him over to that facility across the street. However, Smith backed into the doors of the walk-in clinic and then led police on a chase at speeds between 30 and 50 mph.
At one point, the vehicle went over stop sticks on Irvine Ave., which deflated the driver-side tires, but Smith kept going until he got to the Paul Bunyan Mall and ended up driving into the JCPenney mall entrance. He then got out of the vehicle with his hands up and turned himself in.
Smith was formally charged in Beltrami County Court on Thursday with:
- felony fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle
- felony first-degree damage to property
- misdemeanors for traffic collision violations that happened during the chase
Smith remains in custody in the Beltrami County Jail.