High-speed chase through Church Hill ends in wreck, foot chase

Robert Franklin Smith

CHURCH HILL — A Hawkins County man who allegedly led police on a high-speed chase that began in a shopping center Sunday afternoon eventually wrecked in some woods and was located hiding under his kitchen cabinet.

An undisclosed amount of meth was also allegedly discovered in the Isuzu driven by Robert Franklin Smith, 24, 408 New Canton Road, Church Hill.

Around 4:14 p.m., Church Hill Police Department Officer Logan Tate reportedly observed Smith, whom he knew to have a revoked driver’s license, driving a spray-painted black Isuzu.

Tate stated in his report that he attempted a traffic stop in the Church Hill Shopping Center, but Smith accelerated through the parking lot and turned left onto East Main Boulevard at a high rate of speed.

“He then went through the intersection of East Main and North Central Avenue and turned right onto North Central, almost striking two vehicles,” Tate said. “He then passed more vehicles on North Central on a double yellow line. I then terminated pursuit.”

CHPD Sgt. Dustin Dean later located the Isuzu at 408 New Canton Road, at which time Smith allegedly attempted to flee in the vehicle again, but crashed into a wooded area.

Tate said Smith then fled on foot and after a brief foot chase, Smith made his way back into the residence at 408 New Canton.

“Myself and Sgt. Dean entered the residence and found him hiding under the kitchen cabinet,” Tate said. “We both gave him verbal commands to exit the cabinet, to which he did not comply. I then deployed my Taser, striking Mr. Smith in the upper thigh area. Mr. Smith was then taken into custody without further incident.”

Tate was treated by Hawkins County EMS before being booked into the Hawkins County Jail.

While searching the Isuzu, Tate reportedly located a plastic container in the center console containing a crystal-like substance believed to be meth.

Smith was arraigned Monday in Hawkins County Sessions Court on charges including felony evading arrest, evading arrest, resisting arrest, simple possession of meth, driving on revoked second offense, and reckless driving.

At the time of his arrest Sunday, Tate was on parole from a 2017 robbery conviction in Hawkins County, as well as Sessions Court probation on 2019 convictions for possession of drug paraphernalia, driving on suspended and no insurance.

Smith was ordered held without bond Monday pending a preliminary hearing set for March 4.

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