PITTSFIELD -- The man police say crashed a stolen truck and then chased a friend down for her beer is being held on $10,000 bond after pleading not guilty to a felony and three misdemeanor charges.

Tuesday in Central Berkshire District Court, Joel B. Smith, 33, of South John Street, pleaded not guilty to a felony count of receiving a stolen motor vehicle and misdemeanor counts of assault and battery, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, and driving with a suspended license.

According to the Pittsfield Police, Smith was at a party on Lyman Street with a 30-year-old female friend. The two then ended up in a truck from a nearby residence, which Jones ended up crashing Tuesday morning into two cars parked on Lenox Avenue, according to police. No one was hurt in the crash, said police.

The woman later told police that she jumped out of the truck because of Smith's erratic driving. She said he chased after her on foot onto North Street and pulled her by the hair to the ground in an attempt to retrieve a beer from her backpack.

Smith and the truck were later located by police at his South John Street residence where Smith was taken into custody.

Smith's attorney, Jessica Byrne, told the court there was many "inconsistencies" in the police report and that her client was not the driver. She said the woman had been driving the truck, was drunk and crashed into the two cars.

According to the police report, Smith admitted assaulting the woman but said he was only attempting to get the keys from her.

In court, Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Jeffrey Clarke, citing the defendant's record of failing to show up for court among other reasons, asked Judge Fredric D. Rutberg to set bail at $2,500 cash or $25,000 bond.

Rutberg sent Smith to the Berkshire County Jail & House of Corrections on $1,000 cash bail with a $10,000 bond alternate.

Smith is due back in court on Aug. 22.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
aamelinckx@berkshireeagle.com,
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