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Twin brother of Augusta County sheriff indicted on several felony counts in 2023 theft, pursuit

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

The twin brother of Augusta County Sheriff Donald Smith was indicted on Tuesday on a slew of felony charges related to a December 2023 police pursuit.

Ronald Smith, 41, of Churchville, faces two counts of attempted malicious wounding of a law enforcement officer, single counts of destruction of property and eluding, and a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated in the Dec. 26 incident, which involved the theft of a semi owned by the sheriff, Donald Smith, who has been in that job since 2016.

Ronald Smith had originally been charged with two counts of attempted aggravated murder, but those charges were amended down to the attempted malicious wounding charges in a hearing in Augusta County General District Court last week.

The issue with the sheriff’s brother started around 4 p.m. on the day after Christmas, according to reporting from that day from AFP, with a call from the sheriff to request assistance in stopping the stolen vehicle, a 2000 International semi-tractor with a goose neck trailer owned by the sheriff.

The sheriff had 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 Route 250 before turning onto Route 262 near Staunton.

Sheriff’s deputies attempted to stop the vehicle at the intersection of Route 262 and Route 11, but the vehicle continued on Route 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.

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 was treated at Augusta Health for injuries to his left arm from a police K-9 used in the apprehension and later released.

A release from the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office on Dec. 26 included a quote from the sheriff attributing 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.”

Ronald Smith has been detained at the Middle River Regional Jail without bond since his arrest on Dec. 26.

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].