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Inquest Begins In Chase, Officer-Involved Shooting In Washington Co.

WASHINGTON, Pa. (KDKA) -- A coroner's inquest into the 2010 death of a man who was involved in an exchange of gunfire with police in Washington County got underway today.

Washington County Coroner Tim Warco listened to testimony this morning about the July 2010 chase and officer-involved shooting.

Behind the closed doors of the coroner's inquest, testimony focused on the events leading up to and including the shooting of 42-year-old Kelly Smith after a chase from Washington to South Strabane.

The pursuit eventually ended off of Route 40 near the Copper Kettle restaurant.

A state police investigator testified that officers' cars were rammed repeatedly during the chase and Smith was behind the wheel.

According to investigators, he purportedly had a gun and told police officers at the end of the chase, "You know who I am. I'm going to take care of this myself."

When it became clear to the officers that Smith had a gun, they repeatedly told him to drop it.

Authorities say Smith allegedly then pointed it at officers. The officers on scene then opened fire and Smith was fatally wounded.

Investigators also testified that a woman with Smith in the car at the time of the chase said that he told her, "I'm not going back to prison."

This afternoon, dashcam video from one of the South Strabane Police cars involved in the pursuit was played.

Warco is expected to render a decision about the manner of death sometime in mid-November.

Washington County Coroner's Office
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