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Augusta County sheriff’s brother in custody on attempted-murder charges

Chris Graham
Ronald Smith
Ronald Smith. Photo: Augusta County Sheriff’s Office

The brother of Augusta County Sheriff Donald Smith is in custody on charges including two attempted-murder charges arising from the theft of a semi owned by the sheriff and a lengthy police pursuit.

Ronald Smith, 41, of Churchville, is being held without bond in Middle River Regional Jail in connection with the Dec. 26 incident, which began at approximately 4 p.m. with a call from the sheriff, who in a news release attributed the issues with his brother to “addiction problems.”

“I am not exempt from family issues and addiction problems,” Sheriff Smith said in a statement in the release. “I’m extremely grateful that no one was seriously hurt by my brother’s actions, and commend my deputies and the Virginia State Police for ending this situation safely.”

According to the release, the sheriff called the office around 4 p.m. on Tuesday to request assistance in getting a stolen vehicle stopped.

The stolen vehicle is a 2000 International semi-tractor with a goose neck trailer owned by the sheriff.

The sheriff attempted to stop the vehicle on Route 250 near Churchville with no success, and his brother, behind the wheel of the semi, continued for several miles on 250 before turning onto Route 262 near Staunton, per the release.

Sheriff’s deputies attempted to stop the vehicle at the intersection of 262 and Route 11, but the vehicle continued on 11 all the way to the Fort Defiance area, where Ronald Smith eventually drove into the parking lots of Stewart Middle School and Clymore Elementary School, reportedly intentionally ramming a deputy’s vehicle and attempting to pin a second deputy’s vehicle between the stolen truck and trailer.

According to the release, deputies at the scene gave Ronald Smith commands to exit the vehicle, which he did not comply with, and while inside the vehicle, Smith shouldered a hay spear like a long rifle.

Deputies were able to determine that it was a piece of metal and not a firearm, and were eventually able to take him into custody.

Ronald Smith, who was treated at Augusta Health for injuries to his left arm from a police K-9 used in the apprehension and later released, has been charged with two counts of attempted aggravated murder, among a total of 10 charges stemming from the theft and pursuit.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].