Two charged after separate fleeing incidents

Roy Joseph Lee Smith

    The Thief River Falls Police Department was involved in two separate pursuits in a six-hour period this week. One of the drivers ran out of gasoline, ending his pursuit.
    The pursuits involved Roy Joseph Lee Smith, 19, and Matthew Wade Sorenson, 35, both of Thief River Falls. Both were arrested.
    Smith has been charged with felony fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, misdemeanor fleeing a peace officer by means other than a motor vehicle, and misdemeanor no driver’s license.
    Sorenson has been charged with felony fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, misdemeanor failure to stop for a stop sign and misdemeanor driving after revocation.
    The first pursuit started Tuesday at 7:33 p.m. According to the complaint, a sergeant drove past 930 Reserve Ave. N., a suspected drug trafficking location. The sergeant saw a passenger sitting in a vehicle in the driveway. The vehicle was registered to Smith’s mom, and the sergeant knew that Smith has been involved in multiple incidents involving drug activity. He also knew that Smith doesn’t have a valid driver’s license.
    Seconds after the sergeant positioned himself near the intersection of Eighth Street and Dewey Avenue, he observed the vehicle driving past him. Smith continued driving even though the squad car’s lights and sirens were activated. Smith drove onto Atlantic Avenue and Seventh Street. He eventually stopped outside of 609 Atlantic Ave. N., where he lives. He allegedly ran out of the vehicle and into the house. The sergeant was blocked by a large, aggressive dog that was chained in the backyard. Upon getting past the dog, he encountered Smith’s mom, who was holding back an aggressive pit bull. She said the dog would bite him if he pursued Smith into the home. She then placed the dog in a kennel.
    While at the door, the sergeant saw Smith reappear and throw a large amount of money underneath the kitchen table. His mom said he had picked up about $1,300 in cash from “Trina.” The money, in fact, amounted to more than $2,200.
    The complaint indicated that the sergeant was unable to determine where Smith had been after entering the home or if he had hidden anything.
    According to the complaint, the sergeant had to use a reasonable amount of force to place Smith in handcuffs.
    The second pursuit started at about 1:07 a.m. Tuesday. According to the complaint, a sergeant notified other officers that a car would be driving near them on Sixth Street. (Those officers were on a traffic stop at the time.) He indicated the car was owned by Sorenson and his wife. Neither had a valid driver’s license.
    After an officer engaged the lights and sirens of the squad car, Sorenson allegedly drove faster and failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of Sixth Street and Highway 1. He eventually drove north onto Highway 59. At some point, the car was traveling 40 mph and then turned east onto 180th Street. The car stopped about 200 to 300 feet east of Highway 59.
    At gunpoint, police ordered Sorenson out of the vehicle multiple times. Eventually, he compiled. His wife and her juvenile daughter were also in the vehicle, which emitted an odor of marijuana.
    Sorenson said he ran out of gasoline. However, he didn’t explain why he fled. The complaint indicated that his