Following a 15-minute deliberation, a Bonifay man with an extensive criminal record was sentenced to 10 years in prison after fleeing a traffic stop.

Franklin Pierce Smith III, 54, was recently found guilty by a Holmes County jury, according to a news release from the Office of State Attorney Larry Basford. 

Franklin Pierce Smith III

Florida Department of Corrections records show Smith most recently served a four-year prison term and was released in October 2021. He previously served prison terms for crimes ranging from grand theft and armed burglary to sale of methamphetamine and resisting arrest with violence, according to Basford’s office.

Holmes County Chief Prosecutor Jacob Cook sought to have Smith designated as a habitual felony offender as Smith has been to prison six times over the last 25 years, the news release said. Circuit Court Judge Russell Roberts agreed to the designation, resulting in the decade-long sentence.

“To protect the citizens of Holmes County it is important that career criminals be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Prosecutor Jacob Cook said. “Career criminals need to know that Holmes County is not a place they need to live if they continue breaking the law.” 

Evidence was reportedly provided showing Smith fled after Holmes County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Rodger Young pulled Smith over for a traffic violation.

“Testimony showed the defendant pulled over initially but when asked to exit his vehicle, he instead drove off at a high rate of speed, almost hitting Deputy Roger Young in the process,” Basford’s office said. “The defendant ended up driving into a field before abandoning the vehicle and running into the woods, where he was captured a short time later.”

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