A confrontation with an axe-wielding man led to a high-speed pursuit and the use of a police dog near Westmont College yesterday.
Andrew Carston Smith, 49, was arrested for allegedly attempting to kill a police officer Wednesday in Montecito. Smith used his pickup truck to ram four sheriff’s patrol cars and one motorcycle after threatening the officers with a hatchet and a knife.
The incident began around 9 Wednesday morning when a campus security guard confronted Smith for parking his truck in the bushes near the entrance, said Marsha Meyers, representative for Westmont College. Smith was visiting his daughter, a sophomore at Westmont.
“The security guard approached him because that’s not really a good place to park a car,” Meyers said. “That’s when he pulled a hatchet out of his truck and the guards called 911.”
When sheriff’s deputies arrived, Smith locked himself inside his truck and refused to obey an officer’s commands to get out of his car, Lt. Tom McKinny said.
“He locked himself in his vehicle and was acting very bizarre,” McKinny said. “He was slashing the dashboard and interior of the truck with a knife. The SWAT team was called in to help mediate, but before they arrived, he started the truck and began fleeing.”
Sgt. Chris Pappas said officers chased Smith down Cold Springs Road. A California Highway Patrol officer on a motorcycle was already stationed at the intersection of Cold Springs and Sycamore Canyon Road for traffic control. The officer had to jump out of the way while Smith drove over his motorcycle. The officer sustained minor injuries.
Officers pursued Smith down Sycamore Canyon into Santa Barbara, Pappas said. During the chase, Smith allegedly rammed four patrol cars. The pursuit ended on West Mountain Road after a patrol car rammed Smith’s truck and flipped it.
“He continued fleeing on foot and was still holding the knife threateningly,” McKinny said. “The canine unit was deployed and he dropped the knife when the dog bit him.”
Meyers said Smith has a history of bipolar disorder.
“This is such an unusual incident,” Meyers said. “There’s no reason for us to think that any of our parents would do something like this.”
Smith is a resident of Encinitas, Calif. He was booked into the county jail for attempted homicide and is being held without bail.