Woman pleads not guilty to multiple felonies after high-speed chase


BENNINGTON -- A Connecticut woman is facing multiple felony charges after police said she led them on a high-speed chase while drunk, crashed her vehicle, then kicked one officer in the head several times and spit on another.

Kathleen M. Smith, 29, of Norwich, Conn., pleaded not guilty Monday in Vermont Superior Court to two felony counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, negligent vehicle operation to elude police, two misdemeanor counts of simple assault on a police officer with bodily fluids, disorderly conduct, driving under the influence of alcohol first offense, careless or negligent vehicle operation, operating a vehicle with excessive speed, and resisting arrest.

Smith was released under $2,500 bail and ordered not to drive or consume alcohol while the case is pending.

According to an affidavit by Winhall Police Officer Scott Legacy, on Sunday at 12:20 a.m. he was on patrol in Winhall on Route 11/30 when he saw a vehicle traveling 70 mph in a 50 mph zone.

He would later learn the vehicle was being driven by Smith, who he had stopped for speeding earlier in the evening.

Legacy followed the vehicle in an attempt to pull it over, however he had trouble catching up to it even at speeds approaching 100 mph. He slowed down while going down Main Street in Peru, and believed he would have caught up to the vehicle had it stopped at an intersection there.

The vehicle had stopped because it crashed after missing the turn at Lovers Lane. He wrote that Smith's demeanor had changed since he stopped her earlier. She handed him her entire wallet when he asked to see her license and registration, then asked him twice if he planned to shoot her when he said he could not look through her wallet for her.

When he asked her to take a field sobriety test, the situation deteriorated. Legacy wrote that she swore at him several times and refused to do the test or comply with his commands. When told she was being arrested for DUI, she started to make a phone call and would not put the phone away.

She struggled while being handcuffed, then while being put into the back of Legacy's cruiser, she dealt him three hard kicks to his neck and head. He would eventually be treated at the Rutland Regional Medical Center for a two-inch abrasion under his chin, a contusion by his temple, and swelling in his neck. Legacy said he suffered a cervical sprain, and was given a tetanus shot.

To get Smith in the cruiser, Legacy said he had to use pepper spray.

Smith struggled and swore while being taken to a holding cell, and spat on Winhall Police Sgt. Josh Epstein, once in his face and another time on his chest. She also swore at and made threats to emergency room personnel at the Rutland hospital, per the affidavit.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.


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