A 37-year-old Racine man wanted for possible involvement in a homicide last week took Racine police officers on a high-speed chase Wednesday before he was apprehended.
Gerald D. Smith was charged Friday in Racine County Circuit Court with felony charges of attempting to flee/elude an officer, first-degree recklessly endangering safety, possession of cocaine and possession of marijuana.
If convicted of all charges, he faces a total fine of $55,000 and 23 years in prison.
According to the criminal complaint:
Racine police officers were investigating the shooting death of Marcellus Martinez, 32, Racine, who was shot Nov. 5 in the 1700 block of La Salle Street in Racine when they learned that the gunman was driving a late model Toyota Rav4 with an Alabama registration.
Police learned the vehicle had been rented from Enterprise Rental Car in Racine.
The vehicle was located Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. in the area of 2207 Howe St. and driven by the defendant. Police tried to stop the vehicle as it turned onto 86th Street and traveled south, but it began to accelerate at a high rate of speed as it traveled west on Buckingham Drive.
From there, the chase eventually took police to Highway K in Franksville, where Smith turned left and continued west on Highway K at speeds between 100 and 120 mph. The pursuit, which lasted 9.9 miles, finally ended after the driver crashed into a tree in the front yard of a residence on Highway K.
A caller informed police that Smith had thrown several items from his vehicle during the pursuit. Officers were able to recover a camouflage face mask, gloves and four knotted bags with a white chunky substance that later tested positive for 1.3 grams of cocaine. Police also found a “blunt” cigarette in a clear plastic bag that contained 1.8 grams of marijuana.
Court records indicate that Smith has a previous felony conviction for possession with intent to deliver cocaine in Racine County in 2002.
Smith is due back in Racine County Nov. 14 for a 9 a.m. preliminary hearing.