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Bellmawr gym owner, a congressional hopeful, faces DWI charge – Courier Post

  • Attorney Daniel Albert

CINNAMINSON – A congressional candidate who killed a man in a drunken-driving accident in 2007 is accused of driving while under the influence here.
But Ian Smith, who is running in the Republican primary in the 3rd District, has called for the release of a police officers’ body-cam video from his arrest after a traffic stop.
A campaign consultant asserted the video will show Smith passed a field sobriety test, but was charged with DUI after refusing to give a breath sample.
Kush said Smith’s refusal to be tested “is understandable,” noting he “has a distrust of government” after what the candidate considers persecution by state authorities over repeated defiance of pandemic restrictions at his business, Atilis Gym Bellmawr.
A township officer stopped Smith’s vehicle around around 12:25 a.m. Sunday after observing alleged motor-vehicle violations on northbound Route 130 near Andover Road, according to Cinnaminson Police Chief Richard Calabrese.
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Police stopped Smith in a diner parking lot, where he was arrested after an investigation, the chief said
He was processed and charged at the township police station, then was released to a responsible adult.
Charges include failing to give a breath sample, as well as reckless driving, careless driving, crossing marked lanes and delaying traffic.
The charges are only allegations. Smith has not been convicted in the case.
“Ian will have his day in court and will be found not guilty,” said Kush.
A municipal court hearing is scheduled for April 14.
Smith, 35, of Delanco has built a conservative following as a partner in Atilis Gym Bellmawr. The business and its operators have faced lawsuits and arrests over repeated violations of pandemic restrictions in 2020.
Kush noted Smith is not the first South Jersey politician to refuse a breath test due to mistrust of authorities.
He noted Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, D-Washington Township, would not provide a test after a traffic stop in July 2012.
A Washington Township officer accused Moriarty, the town’s former mayor, of driving while intoxicated and refusing to take an alcohol breath test. The charges were later dismissed.
The officer later was terminated after an Internal Affairs investigation accused him of “making false statements and omitting material facts about the stop and about his prior encounters with Moriarty,” according to a court ruling in the case.
“Ian felt very much the same and if the body cam footage has audio we’ll all hear Ian say as much,” Kush said Tuesday.
Smith is running against Robert Healey, a Moorestown businessman and philanthropist, in the Republican primary for the 3rd District congressional seat.
The district is currently represented by Rep. Andy Kim of Moorestown. 
In announcing his candidacy on Feb. 3, Smith addressed his conviction for vehicular homicide after an April 2007 crash in Galloway. The accident killed a 20-year-old motorist, Kevin Ade of Galloway. 
“When I was 20 years old, I woke up after a night of drinking in my college apartment, got in my car and moments later was the sole cause of a tragic accident that took the life of a young man,” said Smith, who received a 5½-year prison term.
Jim Walsh covers public safety, economic development and other beats for the Courier-Post, Burlington County Times and The Daily Journal.
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