AUGUSTA — A judge set $10,000 bail on Monday for a city man facing charges of eluding an officer and operating under the influence.

Jose Jesus Tapia-Smith, 21, is the same man acquitted Thursday of a drunken driving charge by the same judge, Eric Walker.

The new charges, which include driving to endanger, operating while license suspended or revoked and refusal to sign a uniform summons, result from a high speed chase through the city that occurred around 12:30 a.m. Saturday.

Tapia-Smith was advised of the charges and potential consequences at his initial hearing at the Capital Judicial Center. He was at the Kennebec County jail with Dennis Jones, who was serving as the lawyer of the day, and appeared in front of Walker via video link.

Tapia-Smith did not enter pleas to the charges because the charge of eluding an officer is a felony and would have to go to a grand jury.

Tapia-Smith’s next court hearing was set for July 5.

Assistant District Attorney Tracy DeVol asked for the $10,000 bail, and Jones agreed to waive argument about it until an attorney is appointed to represent Tapia-Smith on the charges.

Three people in the courtroom reacted so loudly to the proposed bail amount that Walker had to ask the prosecutor to repeat it.

Outside the courtroom, one of them, Tapia-Smith’s mother, Rebecca Smith, was physically shaking.

“He was not drunk that night,” she said. “He got scared. He had one drink. He just got scared.”

Tapia-Smith, wearing a one-piece orange jail jumpsuit, kept his hands clasped in front of him and exhibited little reaction to the bail amount.

The judge also set conditions of release that prohibit Tapia-Smith from possessing alcohol and illegal drugs and place him on a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

According to an affidavit by Augusta Police Officer Nicholas Sterling, he saw Tapia-Smith’s red Avenger parked at Cumberland Farms on Mount Vernon Avenue at 12:20 a.m. Saturday. Sterling said he pulled into the parking lot because he knew Tapia-Smith’s license was suspended.

He said Tapia-Smith exited the store and went back inside after seeing the patrol vehicle.

Sterling moved the cruiser behind a nearby building and said Tapia-Smith drove by within five minutes without the headlights on and turned onto Laurel Street.

Sterling said he activated his lights and siren, but the Avenger kept going.

At one point during the chase, the vehicle was traveling north on Civic Center Drive and Mount Vernon Avenue at speeds over 100 miles per hour “with the headlights off still.”

That was the start of an 11-mile chase which ended near the rotary on Old Belgrade Road. Sterling said he smelled alcohol on Tapia-Smith.

A passenger indicated he and Tapia-Smith had been at a Water Street nightclub.

Sterling said Tapia-Smith refused to take an Intoxylizer test and exhibited “slurred speech, unsteady walking and the distinct odor of intoxicating beverages.”

Rebecca Smith said her son would be requesting that attorney Darrick Banda represent him.

Banda had represented Tapia-Smith at his jury trial Thursday at the Capital Judicial Center.

After Walker acquitted Tapia-Smith of a drunken driving charge from April 8, 2015, Tapia-Smith then pleaded guilty to a charge of operating beyond license restriction and was fined $500. The offense also was dated April 8, 2015, in Augusta.

“The goal was to avoid the conviction on the OUI charge and take responsibility for the second count,” Banda said at the time.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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