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Man flees police, crashes car in Manchester, N.H.

Police arrested a man who led them on a chase and crashed his car after they observed him “acting erratically” in a 7-Eleven parking lot in New Hampshire early Monday morning, officials said.

Jason Smith, 35, who has no fixed address, parked a car next to the gas pumps at 557 Maple St. in Manchester at 12:40 a.m. Officers watched Smith as he got out of the 2004 Buick LeSabre and started walking in circles while flailing his arms. He never attempted to put gas in the car, and he walked away down Arlington Street, Manchester police said in a statement.

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Smith returned to the gas pumps about 10 minutes later as a passenger in another car. He got back in the Buick and drove away, police said.

Officers followed Smith after he failed to properly use his turn signal, but Smith accelerated, weaving between lanes until he crashed the car behind a Rite Aid at 53 Hooksett Road, damaging a mulch bed, according to the release. Smith left the crash scene on foot before officers arrived, but police found him nearby shortly afterward, police said.

Officers arrested Smith after some resistance and contacted the Buick’s owner, who knew Smith but had not given him permission to use the car. Smith was taken to a nearby hospital as a precautionary measure, as he appeared to be under the influence of drugs, police said.

Smith faces charges that include reckless conduct, disobeying a police officer, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, driving after suspension/revocation, resisting arrest, criminal mischief, and driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol.

He is scheduled to appear in Hillsborough County Superior Court North on Tuesday.


Andres Picon can be reached at andres.picon@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @andpicon.