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Parolee who led cops on foot chase after ditching car faces 10 years in jail

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SAN DIEGO -- A parolee accused of speeding away from police after officers looking for a prowler tried to stop his car south of the College area, triggering a wrong-way collision in La Mesa, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to five charges, including felony evading and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Dontae Douglas Smith, 28, was ordered held on $250,000 bail.

San Diego police said officers responding to a possible burglary on Dawson Street near El Cajon Boulevard just before 5 p.m. on Dec. 20 spotted a silver Acura matching the description of a vehicle seen leaving the scene and tried to pull the driver over.

The motorist -- later identified as Smith -- took off and led officers on a pursuit on surface streets. The defendant was going the wrong way when the Acura collided with another car in La Mesa, said Deputy District Attorney Matthew Carberry.

"I believe it happened during the heavy traffic, and he reach speeds of 70 miles an hour, at times going in the wrong direction on the street," said Carberry.

Smith ended up hitting two other cars before ditching his own car near a trolley station at Spring and High streets,
investigators said. He eventually ran into a canyon area between two rows of homes. A driver spotted Smith and called police, who tracked him down and arrested him.

Police later determined that he was not connected to any burglaries, but a firearm was found in the defendant's car, Carberry said.

In addition to the felony charges, Smith faces two misdemeanor hit-and- run counts in connection with the end-of-the-chase collision, the prosecutor said.

Smith -- who has a 2016 conviction for an assault with a knife -- faces a maximum of 10 years and four months in prison if convicted of the current charges, Carberry said.

A readiness conference was set for Jan. 7 and a preliminary hearing for Jan. 9.

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