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Man who crashed van into Miami business faces judge

Lawrence Smith, 29, faces felony weapon, child neglect charges

MIAMI – A man accused of fleeing from police while driving with three children and a loaded gun in his vehicle faced a judge on Friday.

Lawrence Smith, 29, is facing felony weapon and child neglect charges.

According to police, officers tried to pull over the van that Smith was driving on Thursday, because it fit the description of a vehicle used in a recent robbery. Police said he sped off, drove against oncoming traffic and eventually crashed into a pharmacy at 4310 NW Seventh Ave in Miami.

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Sky 10 was above the scene as the van's front end was pressed against the wall of the building. The vehicle did not enter the store, although a large hole could be seen near the entrance.

Police said they found three children sitting in the back of the van after the crash, and a loaded gun that was hidden between them.

"It could have been a lot worse," the children's aunt, Jameelah Ahmad, told Local 10 News. "I was very surprised that they were buckled in… they are a little shaken up but that's about it."

According to an arrest report, Smith told police that he fled from officers because he doesn't have a valid driver's license, his vehicle tag was expired and he had recently been arrested on a robbery charge.

Smith was immediately taken into custody and has been placed on house arrest.

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