Smith, Robert Frankin

Robert Franklin Smith

KINGSPORT — A high-speed pursuit through three counties Thursday night began on Big Elm Road near Kingsport with a near head-on collision with a Hawkins County patrol car.

Robert Franklin Smith, 25, 893 Lynn Garden Drive, Kingsport, is accused of leading the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office and other police agencies on a high speed pursuit that crossed into Kingsport, Scott County and back into Sullivan County, then back into Hawkins County, where he crashed in a cow pasture near Church Hill.

HCSO Deputy Isaac Hutchins stated in his report that during the pursuit Smith hit 100 mph, ran multiple stop signs, and swerved into oncoming traffic on multiple occasions.

Hutchins reported that he was traveling south on Big Elm Road late Thursday night when he observed an oncoming blue Honda traveling at a high rate of speed nearly hit his patrol car head-on.

When Hutchins attempted a traffic stop, the driver, later identified as Smith, refused to pull over.

“The vehicle lost control several times and was driving in the wrong lanes of travel,” Hutchins stated in his report. “The vehicle ran several stop signs and accelerated to speeds in excess of 100 mph. The vehicle would swerve into oncoming traffic attempting to hit other motorist vehicles.”

Hutchins added, “The vehicle ran another stop sign onto Netherland Inn Road, almost striking another vehicle. The vehicle continued on Netherland inn Road, where the driver swerved into the wrong lane and attempted to hit an officer’s vehicle, barely missing the police unit.”

Smith led police onto Stone Drive, then into Scott County, where the Scott County Sheriff’s Office pursued him back into Sullivan County, Hutchins said.

Eventually, Smith led police back into Hawkins County.

“After driving recklessly through multiple cities and counties, the vehicle made its way onto Union Hollow Road (near Church Hill),” Hutchins said. “The vehicle missed the turn onto Carters Valley Road, drove into a cow field, and wrecked out.”

Smith then attempted to flee on foot but was apprehended quickly.

Hutchins said Smith admitted that he fled because he has active warrants in Kingsport and didn’t want to go to jail.

As of Friday, Smith was being held in the Hawkins County Jail without bond on charges including felony evading arrest, aggravated assault against a police officer, felony reckless endangerment, reckless driving, failure to exercise due care, speeding, driving left of center, stop sign violation, evading by foot, driving on suspended fourth offense, registration violation, and no insurance.

Smith is scheduled for arraignment Monday in Hawkins County Sessions Court.

At the time of his arrest Thursday, Smith was on probation stemming from another high-speed pursuit and crash that occurred in Church Hill in February 2020. During that incident, Smith was also found in possession of an undisclosed amount of meth.

He pleaded guilty last July in Sessions Court to charges including reckless driving and misdemeanor meth possession, evading arrest on foot and driving on a revoked license. A felony evading arrest charge that stemmed from the 2020 incident was dismissed.

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