Man charged with felonies for leading police on chase in stolen car

Published 9:27 pm Monday, December 3, 2018

A St. Paul man who allegedly jumped out of a stolen car while it was moving during a chase Friday was charged with two felonies Monday in Freeborn County District Court.

Matthew Dennis Smith, 30, is charged with possession of stolen property and fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle.

Court documents state Smith was charged after an Albert Lea police officer was informed of a suspicious vehicle at about 1:30 am. Friday. The officer saw a vehicle in the area of Euclid Avenue and Court Street, court documents state, and noted it had no rear plates and its rear window was covered in snow.

Email newsletter signup

The vehicle allegedly quickly accelerated and began sliding sideways after the officer activated his emergency lights in the area of Euclid and Mill Street. The vehicle turned left onto Wedgemore Drive, going over the curb as it turned, court documents state.

The driver’s door of the vehicle allegedly opened while it traveled on Wedgemore Drive, and the driver fled from the moving car, court documents state.

Smith allegedly fled into backyards on Euclid and jumped a fence at 535 Euclid Ave.

Court documents state the vehicle, valued at $6,995, was property of Southtown Motors. 

In requesting conditional bail be set at $75,000, Assistant Freeborn County Attorney Abigail Lambert noted the alleged details of the incident and Smith’s scale score of 102. The score is based on prior convictions, living status, bench warrant history and alleged criminal offense.

She said any score above 25 is considered high, calling his mark the highest she has seen.

Smith called setting a $150,000 unconditional bail “outrageous” for a non-violent crime.

He has applied for a public defender. He was not represented by a lawyer Monday because the application process was not finished.

“I really don’t feel comfortable moving forward without a lawyer,” he said.

Noting Smith’s scale score, Judge Ross Leuning set conditional bail at $75,000, contingent on Smith not leaving Minnesota without written court approval and keeping in contact with probation services.

His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 13.

A mugshot for Smith was not available as of press time.


See what happened over the weekend in the PM report here.


About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

email author More by Sam