HAUSER – A woman accused of towing a Kootenai County’s deputy sheriff will face a jury trial in October.
Melinda M. Smith, 48, of Spokane Valley, is charged with escaping an officer, assaulting an officer, and two cases of aggravated assault, all crimes.
She is also charged with resisting an officer and quadruple reckless driving, all offenses.
She pleaded not guilty on all charges on Thursday.
The indictment dates back to June 23, when MPs responded to a report that a woman later identified as Smith slumped in the driver’s seat of a car parked in the middle of an intersection.
Smith reportedly told MPs she stopped in the middle of the street because of shoulder pain.
She was released from the scene after medical staff found she did not need treatment.
The police said her driving style was unpredictable and she soon stopped.
When a deputy contacted her again, Smith reportedly ran away with the deputy holding onto the driver’s side window.
Smith’s car dragged the deputy more than 15 meters before he released the window and drove back to his own vehicle, reports say.
The Kootenai County Sheriff’s deputies said they were chasing Smith at speeds in excess of 70 mph.
Smith drove into the boat control station on Highway 53 at high speed, where court documents indicated that she was detained with the help of an assistant sheriff of Spokane County.
Smith is said to have rammed several patrol cars in an attempt to escape.
Kootenai County Sheriff Bob Norris told The Press that the unidentified MP was treated for minor injuries at Kootenai Health and was released the same day.
Smith has no previous crime convictions.
Her attorney said in court Thursday that Smith had “significant health problems” that may have contributed to the incident.
Judge Cynthia Meyer denied a motion to either release Smith at her own discretion or downgrade her $ 200,000 loan.
A three-day jury trial in the case is slated to begin on October 4th.