Port Orange man sentenced to 30 years for fatal DUI crash

DELAND, Fla. – Reports confirm that a Port Orange man was sentenced to 30 years for a fatal DUI crash which resulted in the deaths of an Apopka couple.

The incident took place on Oct. 16, 2011 on Taylor Road near Williamson Boulevard when a pair was riding their motorcycle and a red pick-up turned into their path causing the motorcyclists to slam into the pick-up.

55-year-old Al R. Hopkins was sentenced to two consecutive 15-year terms as the fatal crash resulted in the deaths of 40-year-old Randall D. Allen and his 44-year-old wife, Laura J. Allen. As a result of the crash between the pick-up and motorcycle, the impact threw Randall Allen onto the roof of Hopkin’s truck, across the roof and then back onto the ground. Whereas Laura Allen was thrown to the pavement and both were pronounced dead at the scene.

A jury found Al R. Hopkins guilty after two hours and 20 minutes of deliberation and charged him on two counts of DUI manslaughter in the deaths of the couple during Biketoberfest 2011. He was sentenced on Thursday by Circuit Judge Raul A. Zambrano.

Hopkins blood-alcohol test showed his BAC level at 0.345 which was four times the legal limit of 0.08.

Assistant public defender Matt Phillips and Hopkin’s attorney said that his client was impaired at the time of the accident and thus he was guilty of DUI. But he was not guilty of manslaughter as the Allens were also drunk when they slammed into the right side of Hopkin’s pick-up.

According to records, Randall Allen’s blood-alcohol level was almost three times the legal limit at 0.238. Similarly, Laura Allen’s blood-alcohol level was 0.132. Hence, Randall Allen did not try to brake or swerve to avoid the pick-up as it made its turn as he was impaired while driving the motorcycle.

“This crash was caused by the operator of the motorcycle,” said Phillips.

On the other hand, Assistant State attorney Chris Miller said to the jury of two men and four women that they only had to find Hopkins contribution to the Allens’ deaths. No matter how much, it lead to be guilty of manslaughter.

“You don’t have to determine to what extent, you only have to find the defendant caused or contributed to the death,” Miller said. “This is DUI manslaughter because as a result of the defendant operating the vehicle while impaired he failed to yield the right-of-way and that failure to yield the right-of-way caused the crash. And the crash caused the death.”

A DUI conviction has serious consequences, and one including manslaughter includes serving jail time and heavy fines. Hopkins will be serving 30 years.

Author: Amir Ladan
A former assistant state attorney for Orange/Osceola Counties, Amir has handled thousands of cases and dozens of trials, ranging from DUI and traffic offenses to murder, in both adult and juvenile court.

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