Newarker guilty of assault, more in stolen-car case
A Newark man racks up charges as a fouled car theft turns into a crazy night that threatens the life of two officers and puts the man in a coma.
Before he took off, Smith backed the Acura into the Honda, hitting it so hard that the Acura’s back wheels rolled up onto the Honda’s hood, the prosecutor said. Smith then used the Honda as a makeshift ramp to push off into the street and make his escape, Elflein added.
Elflein argued to the jury that Smith headed toward both officers, noting that each opened fire on the Acura to get it to stop. One officer fired twice and the other five times, but Smith kept going at a high rate of speed, the prosecutor said. Neither officer was struck by the Acura, though one fell to the ground while scrambling to get out of the way, Elflein said.
The prosecutor said Smith drove roughly a block-and-a-half before turning left and going the wrong way down South 18th Street into East Orange. Shortly thereafter, at Central Avenue and Steuben Street, Smith rammed the Acura into a Ford Explorer driven by an off-duty EMS worker coming home from her job. The force of the collision was so great that the Acura went careening in the street and eventually wrapped around a gas station sign.
Smith needed to be cut out of the vehicle by firefighters and spent 10 days hospitalized in a coma, Elflein said. The driver of the Explorer, who was two blocks from home, was treated at the scene for minor injuries.