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Woman misses trial, claims to be in mental hospital.
Woman misses trial, claims to be in mental hospital.

Date published: 10/24/2012

By Keith Epps

Jury trial postponed in 'evil spirits' case

A scheduled jury trial for a woman who blamed "evil spirits" for her erratic driving last year was postponed Tuesday when she failed to appear in court.

Defense attorney Tim Barbrow told a judge that his client, 40-year-old Titania Michele Smith, called him that morning to say she was in a mental health facility in Michigan and didn't know how she got there.

Smith was scheduled to plead not guilty by reason of insanity to three charges in Stafford County Circuit Court.

According to the evidence, Smith was driving more than 100 mph on June 16, 2011, while heading north on Interstate 95 in Stafford. Two children, an 8-month-old girl and an 11-year-old boy, were in the car.

Prosecutor Ed Lustig said no one was hurt, but she nearly rear-ended a Department of Defense police officer's vehicle and almost struck a construction sign while veering all over the road. She also nearly was clipped by a tractor-trailer as she swerved across three lanes toward the right shoulder.

When she was pulled over near the 146-mile marker, Smith, who lived in Richmond at the time, told police she had several disorders and hadn't had her medication in two days. She claimed the spirits were telling her to get out of Virginia.

Smith is charged with reckless driving and two counts of child neglect.

--Keith Epps