Suspected DWI Crashes into Home
Crash Sets One Home on Fire - Knocks Another Off Its Foundation
[April 25, 2013, Bel Air, MD] — At approximately 9:15pm on April 24th, Harford County Sheriff's deputies and the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company were dispatched to the 1000 block of East MacPhail Road in Bel Air for a report of a motor vehicle crash with fire. Upon arrival deputies were told a vehicle had driven off the road and struck a home at 1030 East MacPhail Road causing it to catch fire. The vehicle then allegedly backed up and into a home at 1028 East MacPhail Road knocking a portion of the home off its foundation. The vehicle then allegedly drove down into the back yards of both homes then up into their front yards and then left the area driving east on East MacPhail Road. Police immediately issued an alert for the suspect vehicle which was described as a blue pick-up truck. Officials from the Baltimore Gas and Electric and building inspectors from Harford County Government also responded to assist.
Fire department personnel told deputies the vehicle struck the corner of the home at 1030 East MacPhail Road in the area where the electric and gas utilities enter the home. They further reported that in addition to striking the electrical service (meter) to the home the vehicle also stuck and severed the propane gas line causing it to rupture. As the electrical equipment arced it ignited the propane gas which subsequently set the home on fire. The fire spread up the side of the home damaging the siding. A neighbor who witnessed the fire was able to extinguish the fire with an extinguisher.
Approximately 20 minutes later, Deputy Andrew VanHelten was patrolling the area of Rt. 543 and Rt. 136 when the suspect vehicle passed him. Deputy VanHelten stopped the vehicle, which was determined to be a 2001 blue Chevy Silverado, at Rt. 136 and Cedar Lane. The driver was identified as Michael Lee Smith, 54, of 1023 Cedar Lane, Bel Air. Mr. Smith was arrested and charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), Driving Under the Influence (DUI), possession of a controlled dangerous substance (marijuana), and leaving the scene of an accident.
Although both homes sustained damage it had not been determined, as of this release, whether the occupants would remain in their homes. There were no injuries reported. Mr. Smith was taken to the Harford County Detention Center where at the time of this release he was awaiting a hearing before a District Court Commissioner.