ISP Releases More Information on Car Chase, Smith Charged in Morgan County Court Fri

By Benjamin Cox on October 27, 2023 at 3:21pm

More information has been released about a police pursuit that ended in three vehicles being disabled, including two squad cars.

45-year-old Jeff Smith of Canton is currently being held at the Morgan County Jail. He was initially cited for two counts of aggravated battery to a peace officer, three counts of aggravated fleeing or eluding police, two counts of resisting a peace officer, reckless driving, avoiding a traffic control device, improper lane usage, failure to reduce speed to avoid a collision, leaving the scene/failure to report a traffic crash with property damage, and two counts of criminal damage to state-supported property.

Smith was formally charged with aggravated battery to a peace officer (Class 2 Felony) and aggravated battery via use of a deadly weapon (Class 3 Felony) this afternoon by the Morgan County State’s Attorney’s Office.

According to a preliminary report from the Illinois State Police this afternoon, Smith’s SUV was northbound on South Main Street, approaching East Michigan Avenue while being pursued by three Jacksonville Police Department squad cars. A South Jacksonville Police squad car was approaching northbound on South Main Street at Michigan Avenue when it pulled into the path of Smith’s SUV with its emergency lights activated in an attempt to end the pursuit. Smith’s SUV was said to have been at a far enough distance away to brake and avoid a collision. However, shortly before reaching the South Jacksonville squad car, Smith’s SUV swerved and side-swiped the squad car. Smith’s SUV then crossed opposite lanes of traffic, driving through the Dairy Queen parking lot at the intersection of Main & Michigan, to continue eastbound on East Michigan Avenue. Smith’s SUV then directly collided head-on with another South Jacksonville Police squad car, terminating the pursuit.

Smith was taken to Jacksonville Memorial Hospital after being subdued by police after a taser and bean bags were deployed to get him detained.

The South Jacksonville Officer whose vehicle was struck head-on was also taken by private vehicle to the hospital for precautionary evaluation. Both the officer and Smith were treated at Jacksonville Memorial Hospital and released Thursday. South Jacksonville Police Chief Eric Hansell said the officer said today he is a little sore but otherwise fine.