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Other driver in Soltani car chase pleads guilty

Dean Smith, the driver Tony Soltani was trying to apprehend when he inserted himself into a high-speed police chase last April, has pleaded guilty to felony charges of reckless conduct and perjury as well as a misdemeanor charge of driving while deemed a habitual offender.

Smith, of Epsom, was sentenced on the misdemeanor to 12 months in the county jail, with nine months of that sentence being served on home confinement. He’s facing more time – 2 to 5 years in state prison – on each of the felonies, but Merrimack County Superior Court Judge Larry Smukler suspended those sentences pending five years of good behavior. If 22-year-old Smith ever is forced to carry out those sentences, they would be served concurrently.

As part of the negotiated plea deal, a prosecutor agreed to drop two other misdemeanors of disobeying an officer and reckless conduct.

According to indictments, Smith drove faster than 100 mph during the chase while crossing over the double yellow line. Soltani was arrested directly after the incident, but the police didn’t charge Smith until about two weeks later. On April 11, five days after the chase, Smith testified at a Department of Safety hearing that he had not driven a vehicle while being a habitual offender, a lie that led to him being charged with perjury.

Soltani, a former state representative and Epsom’s town attorney, was recently acquitted by a jury on a felony charge of reckless conduct but found guilty on two lesser misdemeanors of reckless and disorderly conduct. He will be sentenced at a later date.

(Tricia L. Nadolny can be reached at 369-3306 or
tnadolny@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @tricia_nadolny.)

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