A high-speed pursuit in April 2019 led to a 20-year prison sentence for a 41-year-old Granite Shoals man.
A Burnet County jury on Wednesday, Oct. 6, found Matthew Glenn Hopkins guilty of evading arrest with a vehicle and recommended two decades behind bars and a $10,000 fine.
It was the maximum sentence the jury could assess in this case, with a minimum sentence of two years.
Hopkins has an extensive criminal history, Burnet County District Attorney Office officials stated in a media release.
According to the release, Hopkins took several law enforcement officers on a high-speed pursuit during the night of April 20, 2019. The chase began in Marble Falls and went north, eventually through Bertram and into Williamson County. The pursuit continued in Leander where the driver crashed. A passenger on the motorcycle was thrown off the back but only suffered minor injuries.
The chase started when Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Frank Randolph attempted to stop Hopkins due to an obscured license plate, according to the district attorney’s office. The motorcycle driver took off, and DPS Trooper Alexander Goch joined Randolph in pursuit.
Along the way, sheriff’s deputies from Burnet and Williamson counties assisted in the pursuit.
“During the chase, the defendant passed through multiple intersections without yielding, drove into oncoming traffic lanes, and showed no regard to the safety of his passenger, law enforcement, and other drivers on the road,” the district attorney’s office stated in the release.
After the pursuit ended, troopers found meth in Hopkins’ possession, and, after identifying him, they learned he was on parole.
“Had it not been for the work of those officers and their experience in safely ending pursuits, many more lives could have been endangered by the defendant’s dangerous behavior,” stated Tiffany Clark, one of the Burnet County assistant district attorneys who prosecuted the case. “We are incredibly lucky that the damage and injury caused by Mr. Hopkins’ actions during that chase was minimal.”
Assistant District Attorney Amanda Dillon also assisted in the state’s prosecution.
During the punishment phase of the trial, the prosecution was allowed to bring up Hopkins’ criminal past to the jury. This included a victim from a previous conviction for injury to a child causing serious bodily harm testifying in Hopkins’ recent trial. The jury also heard from a victim who Hopkins assaulted in 2017, according to the media release.
Hopkins took the stand during the punishment phase and “gave an explanation of his criminal history and his methamphetamine habit,” the district attorney’s release stated.
Due to his criminal past, the jury was given a range of two to 20 years in sentencing Hopkins and chose the maximum.
Since the jury also found that Hopkins had used the motorcycle as a deadly weapon, he must serve at least half of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.
“Law enforcement kept the citizens of this community and surrounding areas safe that evening. The joint effort by the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office, and Williamson County Sheriff’s Office is a great testament to the care that law enforcement has for the safety of this community,” Burnet County District Attorney Sonny McAfee stated. “The jury demonstrated their commitment to keeping this community safe from this defendant for as long as the law will allow, and we are very grateful for their decision.”