Ex-Sturgis police chief charged in drunken driving crash

Southwest Michigan

A booking photo of Geoffrey Smith. (Courtesy: St. Joseph County Jail)

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — The former head of the Sturgis Department of Public Safety now faces three misdemeanors linked to a drunken driving crash in August.

Geoffrey Smith, 46, was charged with a count of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, one count of operating a motor vehicle with an unlawful blood alcohol level, and one count of operating a motor vehicle with a high blood-alcohol content, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office announced Tuesday.

The first two counts are punishable by up to 93 days in jail and the third by up to 180 days.

The crash happened the night of Aug. 15, 2020, along Lakeview Avenue in Sturgis. Smith’s vehicle hit a parked car, which caused a chain reaction that damaged two other parked vehicles.

Authorities say Smith’s blood alcohol content at the time was .208, more than twice the state’s legal driving limit of .08.

The AG’s Office, which is handling the case due to a conflict of interest within the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office, said Smith waived arraignment last week. He’s expected in court Jan. 29 for a pretrial hearing.

State prosecutors say he resigned shortly after the crash.

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