Sonic Automotive executive accused of strangling, assaulting woman

Businessman David Smith arrested

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Sonic Automotive Chief Executive Officer David Bruton Smith was arrested on several charges Monday.

According to the Mecklenburg County Jail, Smith is charged with assault by strangulation, assault on a female, false imprisonment and interfering with emergency communications. He was released from jail one day after being arrested.

Police have not released any details about the 46-year-old’s arrest or said what may have led up to the charges.

The official arrest report states the victim was a 22-year-old woman who suffered minor injuries listed as “bruises/scratching.” The report states the victim told officers Smith “assaulted an unlawfully restrained her without her consent.”

No further details about the allegations against Smith have been made public.

Smith was elected to the chief executive officer position in Sept. 2018 and also serves as a director and an officer of Sonic Financial Corporation, according to Sonic Automotive.

When reached for comment about the arrest, a Sonic Automotive spokesperson released the following statement:

“The Board of Directors of Sonic Automotive remains steadfast in its support of our CEO, David Smith. We believe in David’s leadership, honesty and transparency, which he has demonstrated throughout his tenure as Chief Executive Officer and over 20 years of service to the Company. David has informed the Board that he is innocent of these charges and expects to be fully exonerated.”

According to court officials, a judge set Smith’s bonds at $10,000 secured each for the charges of assault by strangulation, false imprisonment and assault on a female (totaling $30,000). His next court date is currently set for Oct. 20.

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