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Howell– An Army combat veteran has been sentenced to at least 12 years in prison for fighting with a Michigan sheriff’s deputy and other crimes in a wild incident last fall.

Albert Smith says he has a mental illness but feels that people want to lock him up instead of offering help.

The 36-year-old Smith rammed other vehicles on U.S. 23 and fled when police tried to stop him. Investigators say he crashed his van, fought with Deputy Mike Mueller and tried to steal the patrol car.

Smith says his “mindset shifted from here to Iraq,” where he served with the Army. Defense lawyer Mark Scharrer says Smith suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

He will be eligible for parole after 12 years. The Livingston Daily Press & Argus says Smith’s maximum prison sentence is 25 years. Mueller now is a state lawmaker.

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