Man jailed for crash stemming from cancelled date with prostitute

WEST CHESTER — Note to criminals: Always remember to check the tank before driving to the scene of the crime.

That lesson was hard-learned by a Philadelphia man who was apprehended by police after the car he used to violently smash into an East Pikeland man’s vehicle after the victim cancelled a date with a prostitute was found by police stalled outside of Phoenixville.

Authorities said that defendant Kevin Smith and the woman were found in the car used in the assault about three miles from the intersection in rural Kimberton where the crime occurred. The car had run out of gas, according to the prosecutor in the case, Assistant District Attorney Kelsey Gvodich.

Smith, 46, of Island Avenue in Philadelphia, was sentenced Thursday to nine to 23 months in Chester County Prison and two years’ consecutive probation by Chester County Common Pleas Judge Anne Marie Wheatcraft. He had pleaded guilty to charges of simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, and prohibited offensive weapons.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the case, at approximately 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 30, Officer Joseph Heyman of the East Pikeland Police Department was dispatched for a report of an erratic driver near the intersection of Hares Hill Road and Route 113.

When he arrived he found a township man, Mark Yerges, in a Hyundai Sonata that was heavily damaged.

Yerges told Heyman that he had answered an ad on Craigslist earlier that day to meet a woman, arranging to hook up with her at a location not far from his home. When he learned that she was, in fact, a prostitute and that “money was supposed to be exchanged,” Heyman wrote in the complaint, he apparently had second thoughts about the matter and tried to call off the meeting.

But when he arrived back at his home in a small subdivision off Route 23, he spotted the woman and a man later identified as Smith sitting in a black 2007 Toyota outside his townhouse. Yerges told police that he became concerned, and tried to drive away and evade the pair.

He left the development, but the Toyota followed him with Smith at the wheel, the complaint stated. The Toyota followed Yerges’ car closely, even as Yerges began driving at a high speed to get away.

Eventually, Yerges attempted to make a left hand turn from Route 113 onto Hares Hill Road. But the Toyota drove up next to him in the oncoming lane of traffic and rammed into the Sonata from the side. Yerges told Heyman that he feared for his life.

Yerges was able to continue on to Hares Hill Road into West Pikeland, where he got away from the Toyota, which police found stalled by the side of the road in the 1100 block of Kimberton Road.

Smith was charged with assault and weapons offenses after a search of the Toyota turned up a baseball bat with a knife taped to it. He was held on bail in county prison and will be eligible for parole in November.

In addition to the prison time and probation, Smith was ordered to make restitution totaling $7,731 for the damage to the Hyundai. The female passenger in Smith’s car was not charged.