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Armed man who led Buffalo police on high-speed chase gets 3½ years

A Buffalo man who threatened a woman with a gun, then led police on a high-speed chase that ended when he ran out of gas was sentenced today to 3½ years in prison.

State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang imposed the sentence on Andre Smith, 28, who pleaded guilty last month to second-degree weapon possession. He had faced up to 15 years in prison.

The chase took place April 13 when Buffalo Police Officer Adam O’Shei tried to pull over Smith’s vehicle after a woman said Smith had menaced her with a handgun, prosecutors said. Smith sped away, leading police on a chase through the city that reached speeds of more than 100 mph.

The chase ended when Smith tried to elude police by driving off the road between two houses on Glenwood Avenue and crashed into a garden. He leapt out of the damaged vehicle and fled, with a loaded .45 semi-automatic pistol. Officer John Messina tackled him as he emerged from a backyard.

Police said Smith told officers, “I am a great driver, and I would have gotten away if I hadn’t run out of gas.”