The driver of a Ford Expedition who was pulled over in Macon’s Village Green neighborhood March 20 complied with a deputy’s request to turn off the ignition.
But then 54-year-old Walter Cornelius Smith turned the car back on as Bibb County sheriff’s Sgt. Jeffrey Scott Johnson called for backup. Johnson had pulled Smith over for speeding, and Johnson smelled marijuana after Smith stopped.
“The officer reached into the vehicle to turn it back off,” and Smith reached for something between the seat and center console, prosecutor John Regan said at a Thursday hearing in Bibb County Superior Court.
Johnson asked Smith to show him his hands. Smith raised his right arm abruptly and slammed the accelerator, dragging Johnson down the road with his arm and torso trapped in the car, Regan said.
New details came to light Thursday during a hearing when Smith’s lawyer asked a judge to set a bond in his case.
Although the officer shot Smith in the chest during the incident, Smith was charged with felony obstruction, aggravated assault, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and misdemeanor obstruction.
Regan said Johnson fired four shots into the side of the car and one into the back while another officer followed Smith.
One of the shots struck Smith, who parked in front of his house on Satterfield Drive and ran off. Johnson’s shooting Smith has been ruled justified, and no charges will be filed against him.
Smith later told police that he ran because he had marijuana in the car, Regan said.
Smith’s lawyer, Brek Barker, asked that a reasonable bond be set. He said Smith turned himself in to police after his July 15 indictment. The judge, however, denied bond.
Regan said Smith was already out on bond from a prior case when he encountered Johnson.
On Feb. 14, police were conducting surveillance on Satterfield Drive after receiving complaints of drug activity. They spotted Smith pulling up in one car, then leave in another. An officer noticed he wasn’t wearing a seat belt and tried to stop him, Regan said, but Smith didn’t stop. He abandoned the car at a dead end, leaving it in gear. Police found marijuana in the car and later found marijuana in his house, Regan said.
Regan said Smith has a criminal record dating to 1980, which includes metro Atlanta convictions for burglary and drug offenses.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.