Report: Kingsport man arrested after trying to hit Hawkins County officer during high-speed pursuit Thursday


HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A Kingsport man was arrested Thursday night after authorities say he tried to hit police vehicles with his own during a pursuit that spanned multiple counties, cities and states.

According to a report from the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy was driving south on Big Elm Road “when a blue Honda traveling at a high rate of speed” almost hit his vehicle head-on.

The deputy reportedly tried to conduct a traffic stop, but the driver did not stop.

The report states the Honda lost control several times and was driving in the wrong lanes.

The driver, identified as Robert Franklin Smith, 25, allegedly ran multiple stop signs. The Honda was also traveling at speeds over 100 miles per hour, according to the sheriff’s office.

“The vehicle would swerve into oncoming traffic attempting to hit other motorist vehicles,” the report states.

HCSO reports that Smith almost hit another vehicle when the pursuit continued onto Netherland Inn Road.

He also allegedly “swerved into the wrong lane and attempted to hit an officer’s vehicle, barely missing the police unit.”

The pursuit continued onto Stone Drive and entered the City of Kingsport.

The report states the pursuit also entered Scott County, Virginia. Scott County officers pursued Smith without losing sight of him until he was back in Sullivan County. Sheriff Jeff Edds told News Channel 11 Friday morning that the pursuit was only in Virginia for a brief time.

HCSO states the pursuit reentered Hawkins County and onto Union Hollow Road. The Honda missed a turn onto Carters Valley Road and crashed in a “cow field.”

Smith reportedly got out of the vehicle and ran. He was arrested after a brief foot chase.

The report states Smith told deputies he had warrants out of Kingsport and did not want to go to jail.

According to HCSO, Smith had a suspended driver’s license and three previous convictions on his suspension. The registration on the vehicle was also “cross-tagged” and there was not insurance on the vehicle.

Smith was arrested and charged with the following:

  • Driving left of center
  • Speeding 21 over the limit
  • Failure to exercise due care
  • Reckless Driving
  • Reckless Endangerment
  • Aggravated Assault on a Police Officer
  • Felony Evading
  • Failure to Stop at a Stop Sign
  • Evading by Foot
  • Driving on a Suspended License (x4)
  • Registration Violation
  • Violation of Financial Responsibility

The Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating the crash and is expected to release a report when it is available. THP was not involved in the pursuit.

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