Deputies capture NC escapee in Virginia

by: Trish Williford Updated:


WATAUGA COUNTY, N.C. - Authorities captured James Smith, an escaped inmate, in Virginia on Monday evening.

Smith escaped while in custody Monday in Watauga County.


Damascus Police Department said Smith was hospitalized but is in the custody of Damascus Police. He has been charged and processed with South Virginia Regional jail. No bond was set.

Police said an Alexander County deputy was transporting Smith when he escaped.

Smith was in the passenger seat of the deputy’s vehicle when he pulled out a pair of needle-nosed pliers and held it to the deputy’s throat.

Smith forced the deputy to drive him to a nearby Food Lion grocery store where he stole a Toyota 4Runner in a neighborhood and drove away.

Search crews said they found his jail-issued clothing at Old Highway 421 near Archie Carrol Road.

The deputy was not hurt and officials said Smith had a handcuff key.

Earlier this month, police were searching for Smith after a chase in Hickory.
Deputies said Smith broke into a woman's home after eluding deputies and ditching a truck in Hickory.
He's accused of stealing several items from that home.
Authorities say last month, he was involved in another chase where police say he shot at officers while trying to drive away in a stolen SUV.

Smith faces more than 40 charges.

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