Traffic stop results in high-speed car chase

Suspect was in possession of marijuana

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published June 14, 2012

HAZEL PARK — The smell of marijuana tipped a cop off to trouble when he pulled a vehicle over for a traffic violation, while the trail of dust kicked up by the car in the ensuing high-speed chase led police to the suspect’s hidden spot.

Chivez D. Smith, 23, of Detroit, was arraigned by Judge Charles Goedert in Hazel Park 43rd District Court on Tuesday, June 5, on charges of fleeing and eluding, third degree, a five-year felony, as well as second-offense marijuana possession, worth up to one year and/or a $2,000 fine, and second-offense driving on a suspended license, worth up to one year.

He is being held on a $10,000 cash or surety bond. The suspect was previously convicted of attempted manufacture and delivery of marijuana.

For this latest incident, police are also seeking charges for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs, first offense, a 93-day misdemeanor; and resisting and obstructing police, a 90-day misdemeanor.

It happened during a traffic stop on Eight Mile, near John R, around 4:40 p.m. Monday, June 4. Smith had been speeding, going nearly 60 mph on a 40 mph road. A female passenger accompanied him; police are still investigating her connection.

Upon walking up to the suspect vehicle, the officer could smell burnt marijuana. When he got close to the suspect’s 2005 Dodge Magnum, Smith sped off at over 70 mph, fleeing to a neighborhood near Derby and State Fair in Detroit. The officer was able to track the suspect by the dust billowing behind his vehicle.

“You’d be surprised,” said Hazel Park Police Chief Martin Barner. “Those roads aren’t cleaned as often as they should be, and dry as it is, driving at that rate of speed, you’re going to cause a lot of wind.”

The officer found the vehicle abandoned near an overgrown field. Police formed a perimeter around the neighborhood and moved in, searching the area. The woman was found hiding in the tall grass. She has not been charged.

As for Smith, he was found hiding on the second floor of an abandoned business. An officer smelled Smith before he saw him, again detecting the burnt marijuana. He gave a couple of warnings to Smith, at which point the suspect emerged from one of the rooms and surrendered without resistance.

Some amount of marijuana was uncovered in the Dodge Magnum, though police didn’t specify how much. This was probably the reason for Smith fleeing police, along with misdemeanor warrants out for his arrest.

Nobody was hurt in the incident, though the suspect’s actions put others in jeopardy, the chief said.

“Anytime you have a subject that flees in a vehicle at a high rate of speed, especially in residential areas, it’s a dangerous situation for everyone — for the officer, for innocent bystanders, the suspect himself and any passengers,” Barner said.