Men plead guilty in highway racing death

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Two men who caused a fatal crash when they raced their cars last year along Richmond Road in Texarkana, Texas, pleaded guilty Monday at a hearing in Bowie County district court.

Kalob Doyle, 26, appeared before 5th District Judge Bill Miller with Texarkana attorney Josh Potter on a charge of racing on a highway causing serious injury or death. Gilbert Earl Burton, 52, appeared just after Doyle with Texarkana attorney John Pickett.

Both men entered pleas of guilty to the charges. Assistant District Attorney Katie Carter said the state is recommending that both men receive a term of probation. Carter said she has met multiple times with the victim’s mother and that she and the mother met with Doyle and Burton. Carter said that the victim’s family approves of the state’s offer for probation.

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Miller ordered presentence investigations be conducted by the Bowie County Probation Department before they return for sentencing May 2. Should Miller reject the plea agreement, the men face two to 20 years in prison.

Doyle was allegedly driving a black 2000 Ford Mustang southbound March 20, 2018, on Richmond Road when he slammed into a 2003 Toyota Avalon being driven by 30-year-old Laquonia Geena Hopkins. The Avalon sustained heavy damage. Doyle suffered a broken right leg.

The first officer on the accident scene noted Hopkins was pinned inside the Avalon and appeared lifeless.

“The whole dash was severely broken and had shifted inside the vehicle,” a probable cause affidavit states. “The steering wheel and steering column were shoved upward and towards the passenger side of the vehicle.”

The doors were jarred shut and the windows were rolled up. Hopkins was pronounced dead at the scene.

Onlookers told police Doyle had been racing a yellow Dodge Charge Super Bee which had left the scene. On March 21, 2018, officers located the yellow Dodge parked at a residence in the 1600 block of 15th Street. Burton allegedly admitted to owning the only car like his in Texarkana and to racing the Mustang on Richmond Road seconds before the crash occurred.

Carter said she expects Hopkins’ mother and sister to be present at the sentencing hearings and that they may give victim impact testimony.

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