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69 miles-per-hour, under the influence of marijuana: Man gets 4 years in prison in Jan. 2017 fatal crash

Larreon Hopkins

MILWAUKEE — A man prosecutors say was under the influence of marijuana at the time of a fatal crash on Jan. 5, 2017 has been sentenced to prison. The crash happened near 13th and Capitol, and James Bentley died.

The crash involved two vehicles — a blue Chevy Astro van driven by Bentley, and a red BMW X3 driven by Hopkins.

Larreon Hopkins, 23, of Milwaukee on Jan. 4 pleaded guilty to one count of homicide by vehicle, use of a controlled substance.

On March 6, he was sentenced to serve four years in prison and six years extended supervision with credit for 110 days time served.

Additionally, his license has been suspended for five years.

Restitution was set at more than $10,000.

A criminal complaint says first responders noted a strong odor of marijuana coming from Hopkins at the scene.

A witness told investigators she was headed westbound on Capitol Dr. on the morning of Jan. 5, 2017 around 8 a.m. when she spotted a red SUV coming up behind her at a high rate of speed — weaving in and out of traffic. Near 12th and Capitol, the witness stated the SUV passed her on the right and she noted there was only one person inside. She estimated the SUV was traveling at about 70 miles-per-hour. She said she was about to call police when she saw the red SUV smashed in the middle of the road, and a blue van, also smashed.

Hopkins was arrested at the scene, and taken to the hospital for a blood draw. That sample was sent to the Crime Lab to determine whether Hopkins was operating his vehicle with a prohibited controlled substance in his blood.

Hopkins was interviewed by police and said the red BMW he was driving on Jan. 5 was a loaner he received while his vehicle was being repaired. According to the complaint, he said he was visiting a friend near Humboldt and Capitol and left to pick up his girlfriend at 34th and Brown to take her to work.

Hopkins indicated he was traveling at about 35 miles-per-hour, and he said there was a semi to his right. As he neared 13th and Capitol, Hopkins told police the blue van pulled into the intersection and stopped. Hopkins said he applied his brakes and attempted to go around the rear of the van, but his vehicle collided with it.

Fatal crash at 14th & Capitol

According to the complaint, Hopkins said he hadn’t smoked marijuana since “a day or two” before his sentencing on Dec. 16 for possession of marijuana. He said on the night of Jan. 4, he was in his vehicle with a girl who had been smoking marijuana, but he hadn’t smoked any. He said if there was any marijuana in his system, it was from secondhand smoke.

The complaint states investigators obtained a search warrant to take a look at the “event data” recorded in the “airbag control module” of the BMW X3. That data showed Hopkins was traveling at at least 69 miles-per-hour at the time of the crash.

The posted speed limit on Capitol Dr. is 30 miles-per-hour.