Couple survives accident after police chase

February 25, 2008 6:00:35 PM PST
A couple who survived Hurricane Katrina and started a new life in Durham are now survivors of a head-on collision as the result of a high speed chase with police. aggravated assault.

When officers tried to pull the car over Saturday night - they say the driver took off, ran a red light and crashed into the Smith's car at the intersection of Guess and Horton Roads.

"We were on our way home because the New Orleans Hornets were playing and we were talking about that and the next thing we knew, bam, it hit us," Climon Smith said.

Climon Smith, 63, and his wife Betty are home from the hospital and recovering from the head-on collision.

The impact caused the airbags to deploy and the car to spin in circles.

"We couldn't move because the car doors were bashed in from the impact," Climon said.

"It was hard breathing because the seatbelt cut our breath away," Betty added.

The Smith's were rushed to Duke Medical Center, treated and released. They surprised everyone, walking away with a broken wrist, stitches, broken thumb and bruises.

When Eyewitness News asked the couple if they were angry with the men in the other car, they said no.

"That's some mother's child that needs help even though they've gone astray," Betty said.

With an innocent couple injured in the police chase, questions are rising about the decision by police to go after the suspects.

Mardi Warner witnessed the accident Saturday. "I think there's a time to pull back but the person who caused it is the person that they're chasing. And he's the one that made that decision," Warner said.

Driver Benjamin Wayne White Jr., 24, was charged with fleeing to elude arrest, driving while license revoked, careless and reckless driving and possession of a firearm by a felon. Rory Arrington Jr., 23, also was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

They were both treated for non-life threatening injuries and may face more charges.


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