Prison releasee guilty of using his truck as a weapon facing 15 years under enhanced sentencing law

BONIFAY – A Westville man was found guilty Thursday of intentionally driving his truck into an ATV, injuring the driver of the ATV when it flipped over, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.

A Holmes County jury deliberated just over 20 minutes before finding Jesse David Hicks, 31, guilty of Aggravated Battery and Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Injuries. Judge Colby Peel set sentencing for next month.

A Second-Degree felony is normally punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison, but Holmes County Chief Prosecutor Jacob Cook is seeking to have Hicks sentenced as a Prison Releasee Reoffender, meaning he will have to serve a mandatory 15-year sentence.

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The defendant was released from prison in October, 2022, about 6 months before his arrest in this case.

Cook called four witnesses and presented evidence gathered following the by the Florida Highway Patrol and the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office showing that the victim was stopped on Arrant Road at County 181 when they saw the defendant approaching in his truck.

Testimony showed the defendant ran into the ATV and pushed it into a ditch, where it overturned. The evidence showed that the victim had never met the defendant and the victim was out with his wife and 2-year-old granddaughter to take her swimming at Lake Cassidy when he was struck.

The defendant fled, but later was spotted near the scene and taken into custody by the FHP and Holmes County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

Basford thanked the FHP  and Holmes County Sheriff’s Office for their work and collaboration on the case.

For more information, contact Mike Cazalas at, or call 850-381-7454.