Fall River district fire chief accused of leading troopers on drunken car chase

FALL RIVER, MASS. (WHDH) - Fall River’s district fire chief is facing criminal charges after authorities say he led troopers on a drunken chase through Dartmouth early Friday morning.

Troopers responding to several reports of a pickup truck driving erratically on the eastbound side of Interstate 195 about 12:50 a.m. attempted to stop 54-year-old Ambrose Smith but he refused to pull over, according to state police.

Troopers, with the help of Dartmouth police officers, were able to stop Smith in the area of Faunce Corner Road.

Smith, whose truck had no tires on the front wheels, hit speeds of 65 mph during the pursuit despite having sparks shooting from under his vehicle, according to a police report. The vehicle is said to have rolled over a trooper’s foot before coming to a complete stop.

He was arrested near the Dartmouth Mall on charges of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of liquor, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, failure to stop at a red light, and marked lanes violation.

Smith allegedly admitted to drinking at St. James Pub in Fall River and King’s Inn in North Dartmouth

He also allegedly grew angry, claiming troopers were “ruining his life.”

Fall River Fire Chief John Lynch said he “did not know all the details” and called the 20-year veteran one of his “best district chiefs.”

“Don’t be so quick to judge,” Lynch told 7’s Steve Cooper. “We all make mistakes in life. Let’s see what happens with this.”

Smith was released on public recognizance at his arraignment in Fall River District Court.

Lynch said Smith has taken a personal leave from work.

He is due back in court next month.

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