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Driver killed in violent crash near downtown Grand Forks

Grand Forks Police investigate a fatal crash in the 200 block of Belmont Road Thursday morning. Photo by Sydney Mook/Grand Forks Herald1 / 4
Pieces of a vehicle were strewn along the 200 block of Belmont Road in Grand Forks. Photo by Tess Williams/Grand Forks Herald2 / 4
Debris from a Thursday morning crash on Belmont Road. Photo by Sydney Mook/Grand Forks Herald3 / 4
The back end of a car torn apart in a Thursday crash sits in front of St. Mary's church. Photo by Sydney Mook/Grand Forks Herald4 / 4

One person is dead following a violent crash that left the vehicle torn apart Thursday morning in Grand Forks.

The wreckage of a passenger car appeared to be in three large pieces, strewn along a 10-to-15-foot stretch of Belmont Road in front of St. Mary’s Catholic church, on the 200 block of Belmont.

According to a Grand Forks Police news release, an officer initiated a traffic stop on the white, four-door sedan around 5:15 a.m. Thursday. Police say the driver, later identified as Tony James Smith of Grand Forks, refused to stop and attempted to evade the officer.

As Smith, 33, was nearing the downtown area, police said he “rapidly accelerated and turned off his headlights, in further attempts to elude the officer.”

At that point, the patrol supervisor terminated the pursuit, as conditions posed “too great a hazard” to the public to continue the chase.

Shortly after the pursuit ended, the responding officer reported that the vehicle had crashed into a tree, causing extreme damage, and Smith was ejected.

Officers rendered aid and called paramedics from Altru Hospital. Smith was pronounced dead on scene.

At the crash site, the vehicle could be seen split in half, with the front part of the vehicle resting near the road and the rear end resting on a sidewalk, near a fence in front of the church. Other debris, including the front bumper, was also scattered across the road.

Traffic was diverted from the intersection of South Fifth Street and Belmont to Third Avenue South.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact the Grand Forks Police Department.

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