Escaped Prisoner Old 421/421 Area Deep Gap, Found In Damascus Virginia

Last Updated on October 2, 2022 5:57 pm

Scanner feed audio, information from Watauga County Sheriff's Office and Boone Police can be found below.

*information released by Watauga County Sheriff's Office July 1*

James Brandon Smith was apprehended in Washington County Virginia on June 30th 2014 after a manhunt in Watauga County. Smith has been a prisoner in Watauga County Detention Center since his arrest for multiple charges by the Boone Police Department on June 24, 2014. Smith was transported to Alexander County for a court appearance the morning of June 30th. An Alexander County Sheriff's Deputy was transporting Smith back to the Watauga County Detention Center when Smith used a pair of needle nose pliers that he had concealed to overcome the Deputy by force. Smith escaped from the patrol vehicle in the area of Old Hwy 421 North in Boone.

Watauga County residents in the area were contacted via phone and social media and news and asked to lock their homes and report any suspicious person in the area. Multiple agencies responded to the area to assist in the manhunt. K9 teams, line search teams, mobile patrol teams, and a search aircraft were deployed to assist in the search for Smith. Shortly thereafter, a resident in the area noticed that her Toyota 4Runner was missing and it was presumed that Smith had stolen the vehicle.

The search for Smith continued in Watauga County until it was confirmed that he had been captured in Damascus Virginia. Damascus Police Department apprehended Smith after he led them on a car chase with the stolen vehicle. Smith crashed the vehicle and then fled on foot, prompting another manhunt. Smith was taken into custody a short time later.

Watauga County Sheriff's Office has charged Smith with Assault With a Deadly Weapon on a Government Official, Breaking or Entering a Motor Vehicle, Escaping from a Local Jail, and Larceny of a Motor Vehicle.

*information released by Boone Police on July 1*

On June 23, 2014, at approximately 8 PM, Boone Police Officers arrested James Brandon Smith, W/M, 35 years-of-age, at the Red Carpet Inn on US Hwy 321 in Boone.

Boone Police Investigators had been investigating Smith for several weeks for crimes he committed in Boone. During the investigation, it was determined that Mr. Smith was wanted by numerous law enforcement agencies in western North Carolina. Boone Police Investigators developed information that Mr. Smith might be traveling to the Boone area. Later that afternoon, Mr. Smith was located at the Red Carpet Inn. He was taken into custody without incident.

Mr. Smith was taken before a Watauga County Magistrate where the following warrants for offenses that occurred in Boone were served on him:

Felonious Breaking or Entering a Motor Vehicle;
Felonious Larceny of a Firearm;
Felonious Larceny of a Firearm;
Felonious Larceny of a Motor Vehicle;
Felonious Larceny.

Mr. Smith was given a $120,000 secured bond pending a August 1, 2014, appearance in Watauga District Court.

Additionally, Mr. Smith was served with warrants from the following Counties with the indicated secured bonds pending court appearances:


Misdemeanor Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle

$10,000 Bond


Felonious Fleeing to Elude Arrest with a Motor Vehicle
Felonious Possess of a Stolen Motor Vehicle
Felonious Larceny of a Motor Vehicle
Felonious Possess of Stolen Property
Misdemeanor Reckless Driving To Endanger
Misdemeanor Injury to Personal Property
Misdemeanor Speeding
Misdemeanor Resisting a Public Officer
2 counts of Misdemeanor Driving While License Revoked
Driving Left of Center
Fail to Stop for a Steady Red Light

$130,000 Bond


Felonious Attempted Breaking or Entering a Building
6 counts of Felonious Breaking or Entering a Motor Vehicle
6 counts of Misdemeanor Larceny

$150,000 Bond

Scanner Feed from Washington County Virginia. File is edited for time (ie long pauses and other dispatched calls)

*below are the updates as they happen on Monday June 30, 2014*

4:09pm – escaped prisoner in the area of old 421/421 in Deep Gap according to scanner. Use extreme caution in that area and don't pick anyone up.

4:20pm from Boone Police – Escaped prisoner Old 421 near Archie Carrol Rd. White male wearing an orange pant no shirt If you see anything suspicious call 911.

4:44pm – law enforcement reminds residents in that area to lock your doors, the prisoner has shed his orange jump suit. Multiple law enforcement agencies are helping in the search for escaped prisoner.

Photo of escaped prisoner. Photo from Watauga County Sheriff's Office. white male, about 35 years old, 6 feet tall, slender/medium build, short brown hair. If seen call 911 do not approach.

James Brandon Smith

5:29pm – according to scanner info the escaped prisoner may have stolen 1998 brown Toyota 4 Runner.

5:34pm – From Boone PD – Officers are attempting to locate a 98 4Runner brown in color XYC1966 has a Harley Davidon “DYNA” tag on the front. If seen call 911

According to the Watauga Democrat the inmate was being transferred back to Watauga County from Alexander County at the time of his escape.

6:14pm – according to scanner information officials are bringing in an aircraft to help in the search.

6:58pm – no other information at this time, search continues both in the air and on the ground.

According to the – “On May 21, James Brandon Smith, 34, of 21 Phoenix Drive, Newton, stole a black Jeep Cherokee from the parking lot of a Hickory convenience store, according to reports. He led police on a chase before driving into the woods in a Hickory neighborhood that night.”

7:03pm – law enforcement are re-issuing the BOLO (Be on the lookout) for James Smith

7:18pm – the Watauga Democrat is reporting that the inmate was being transported back to Watauga County from Alexander County at the time of his escape. reports that Smith was involved in a standoff with Hickory Police on May 21 & 22 in which shots were fired. He was arrested in Boone last Monday June 23.

8:35pm – The search continues but no other details to pass along.

8:46pm – according to the scanner feed from Washington County Virginia they are in a manhunt for the escaped prisoner from Watauga County.

9pm – according to scanner feed from Watauga the suspect has been caught in Washington County Va.

11:14pm – Photos of the crash scene in Washington County, Virginia from WJHL TV 11 reporter Lauren Haviland via facebook.

James Smith car crash

James Smith car crash2

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