KNOX COUNTY – Progress in the case against a Barbourville man who allegedly ran over another person with his vehicle in July 2018 has been slowed as prosecutors are still waiting for necessary documents before moving forward.
Eric Lee Smith, 34, appeared in Knox Circuit Court for a pretrial conference Friday, where prosecutors informed the court that they were still waiting for medical records concerning the alleged victim to be returned from the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington. For that reason, they asked for a follow-up pretrial conference to allow for additional time in attempting to require the necessary records.
A new court date has been set for July 2 at 1 p.m.
On July 28, 2018, Knox County Sheriff’s Deputy Sam Mullins was dispatched to a location along Callebs Creek Road near Girdler to investigate a report of being struck by a vehicle. When Mullins arrived at the scene, he found the victim laying in a ditch, according to testimony he provided during an August 2018 preliminary hearing in Knox District Court.
The vehicle was still nearby with a passenger inside who witnessed the incident. The witness identified Smith as the driver and told police that he purposely hit the victim with his vehicle, according to Mullins' testimony. Smith had allegedly left the scene.
Information was later developed a later that week by police that Smith had been spotted on Alex Creek near the Knox and Bell County line. Police traveled “about three miles on foot” into the woods to locate Smith, who was soon found in a vehicle on top of Red Bird Mountain. When Smith noticed police approaching the vehicle, he sped off in an attempt to flee the scene, though he crashed into a tree approximately one mile away. He then fled on foot and could not be caught.
Further information was developed just a few days later, which led to Smith’s arrest at a residence on KY 718 in the Big Creek area of Knox County on Aug. 5, 2018. At that time, he was arrested and charged.
Mullins said that Smith gave no statements to police after being taken into custody.
The victim had to be transported to the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington for treatment of a broken back and broken arm.
Smith was indicted in January by a Knox County grand jury, formally indicting him on charges of attempted murder and two counts of first-degree fleeing or evading police.
Smith currently remains jailed in the Knox County Detention Center.