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Man accused of leading police on chase in stolen car, resisted arrest

A Grand Forks man is facing seven charges after allegedly fleeing from police in a stolen car and continuing to drive after a wheel fell off.

Paul Fitzgerald Smith II, 25, could spend up to five years behind bars for each of the four felony charges.

Police records said officers tried to pull over his vehicle Tuesday just after 9 p.m. around the 2000 block of 27th Avenue South because its tail lights were out. Smith allegedly kept driving east, jumped a curb and turned south onto Washington Street. He was driving on the wrong side of the road, police said.

Records said Smith's car fishtailed near 34th Avenue South and Washington Street, slid across the median and lost the right, rear wheel. He allegedly still continued to drive, heading east on 36th Avenue South as passengers started throwing items out of the vehicle. Police said a capped syringe was recovered.

The chase came to an end when Smith's car allegedly got stuck in mud near 58th Avenue and Lou Ann Street.

An officer broke out the driver's front window to open the door and the passenger got out and laid down, according to police. Smith and the passenger were wearing handkerchiefs covering the bottom halves of their faces.

Smith allegedly grabbed a double-sided axe as officers tried to get him out of the car. An officer pepper-sprayed Smith to get him under control, court records said.

Smith allegedly refused to get out of the car and tried to hold himself in as police pulled him out. He told police a false name, court records said. Smith was transported to Altru Hospital because he had a high heart rate and temperature over 101 degrees, court documents said.

Smith continuously recited the Lord's Prayer and asked where he was, court documents said.

The passenger told police she saw Smith snort a Valium several hours before the chase. Police said the car was reported stolen from Fargo.

Smith was charged with theft, reckless endangerment, fleeing police, preventing arrest, providing false information, ingesting a controlled substance and driving with a suspended license. He is scheduled to enter a plea Dec. 12.