Bemidji man facing new charges after crashing into two buildings, leading pursuit

A 25-year-old Bemidji man is facing numerous charges  after crashing into one building, leading a pursuit, then crashing into another building.

The Bemidji Police Department says they received a call around 3 p.m. Tuesday from someone reporting they were having a mental health crisis. Officers responded to the Sanford Walk-in Clinic and spoke with Damian Smith.

Mid-conversation, Smith backed a black Dodge Caravan into the clinic’s doors, then fled. A pursuit up to 50 miles an hour ultimately led to the Paul Bunyan Mall. At the entrance of the parking lot, Smith reportedly crashed into a 2019 SUV, then into the main entrance doors of the mall.

Smith was transported to Sanford for a mental health evaluation before he was booked into the Beltrami County Jail.

Damian Smith, 25. Photo from the Beltrami County Jail Inmate Roster.

Smith has a set of previous charges from a May 2021 series of incidents involving several hit-and-run crashes in addition to ineligible firearms possession and DWI, and a prior conviction for first-degree arson in 2018.

Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University. You can follow along with Larissa's live tweets of meetings and events on Twitter!

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