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May 17, 2021

Brothers face felony charges after running from officers

WATSONVILLE—Two brothers were arrested Monday and Tuesday—about 30 hours apart—after two dramatic chases involving multiple law enforcement agencies.

Daniel and Thomas Smith face multiple felony charges, and are being held in Santa Cruz County Jail without bail after running from officers.

The first chase began early Monday before 8am when a Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s detective spotted a car that was possibly associated with a domestic violence case in Watsonville. As police set up surveillance outside the Home Depot on Green Valley Road they spotted who they believed to be the suspect, Daniel Smith, walking into the store.

As the man left the store and climbed into a gold Hyundai Elantra. Police narrowed in, hoping to trap his car, but the man, who police then realized was the suspect’s brother, Thomas Smith, 30, barreled out of the parking lot over a sidewalk, launching a brief high-speed chase.

Watsonville Police and the California Highway Patrol officers joined the Sheriff’s Office in the pursuit along Loma Prieta Avenue to Pennsylvania Drive, onto Hammer Drive, then Clifford Avenue and eventually north on Main Street. When Smith reached a red light at South Green Valley Road he careened over a concrete median, flattening his two left tires. As the car limped to a halt a short distance further on South Green Valley Road in front of Applebee’s, Smith sprang from the car and ran behind the Green Valley Cinemas, where police captured him. He was taken into custody and wheeled away on a gurney to an ambulance with unknown injuries.

Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Ashley Keehn said police found a loaded handgun under Smith’s car seat. He was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, felony evading and resisting arrest.

Then, on Tuesday, Watsonville Police found his brother, Daniel Smith walking on the 500 block of East Lake Avenue around 1pm.

As police approached Smith, who had felony arrest warrants for robbery, burglary and domestic violence, he dropped a backpack full of clothes and darted away on foot through a nearby neighborhood. This prompted a lockdown for E.A. Hall Middle and Mintie White Elementary schools, said Watsonville Police spokeswoman Michelle Pulido.

Police quickly set up a perimeter around Orchard Street, and Hill, East Lake and Brewington avenues. Police caught Smith, 31, hiding in the back of a residence.

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