A Hartford police sergeant was in the hot seat following a high speed chase that was caught on camera.
A few weeks ago, Sgt. Eric Smith barreled through a red light on a city street, hit speeds of 80 mph on I-91 and knocked down a light pole on Prospect St., according to investigators.
Eyewitness News obtained surveillance video of the chase. Police said they show Smith's Toyota Tacoma truck traveling on dark, snow-covered roads.
According to a police report, Smith was off duty at the time. It started on Whitehead Highway heading into downtown Hartford. A pursuing officer turned on his cruiser lights. That's when the report said Smith blew through the red light and forced that officer to turn on his siren.
The report said "the vehicle still traveling South lose control, fishtail and spin out causing the vehicle to strike a light pole on the West curbline of South Prospect Street and coming to a rest over the sidewalk in a snow bank with the vehicle facing the street."
The surveillance video stopped there. However, it picked up 12 minutes later with the truck not in the picture.
"I'm OK, I just spun out on the ice," Smith said according to the report.
Smith told responding officers that he forgot his cell phone and was hurrying home to get it. He said he blew through the red light because he thought it was green, the report said.
The report said Smith got off with a verbal warning.
Police also said this was not the first time Smith has been in trouble.
Last September, Smith was the subject of an investigation after police said he admitted to accidentally firing a handgun inside his home in Windsor.
The bullet pierced his bedroom wall, went right through his neighbor's home and landed in the bed of a 12-year-old girl, investigators said.
In 2000, Smith was charged with sexually assaulting a woman while on duty. He was acquitted and kept his job, police said.
Eyewitness News went to Smith's home for comment, but no one answered the door.
"It looks like he's getting special treatment because he's a police officer, a sergeant." Said Oribel Castillo of Hartford. "It's not fair."
Taxpayers said they want to see equal treatment for everyone.
"If I lead police on a chase, I'm assuming I would probably not have just a verbal warning, especially if it ended with me crashing my truck," said Hartford resident Brendan Mahoney.
Police said they have been investigating Smith. As for his employment status, they said he's on regular assigned duty.
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