Man sentenced for high speed chase, claiming to be ‘sovereign citizen’ in Clarendon

Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 2:52 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 31, 2023 at 5:19 PM CDT
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CLARENDON, Texas (KFDA) - A jury in Donley County sentenced a man for evading arrest after a high speed chase in Clarendon.

The two-day trial ended with the conviction of 56-year-old John Edward Hopper.

In August of 2022, Hopper was involved in a high speed chase on U.S. Highway 287.

Carson County Chief Deputy J.C. Blackburn, a Donley County deputy and Donley County Sheriff Butch Blackburn testified about the chase.

J.C. Blackburn and Butch Blackburn testified about Hopper refusing to exit his vehicle, forcing them to break the window and remove him by force.

“When this defendant finally pulled over and ended the pursuit, instead of complying with the deputy’s commands, he slid a piece of paper out the barely cracked window and told the deputy ‘you’ve been served,’ before rolling the window back up. The paper was basically a bunch of gibberish about the defendant being a person, not a corporation, and not being required to obey traffic laws because he wasn’t traveling for commercial purposes,” said Assistant District Attorney Harley Caudle

Court documents further state that the jury was shown a video of Hopper presenting a training session at a sovereign citizen gathering the day before he was arrested.

The jury pronounced a sentence of 10 years in a Texas prison. However, they recommended he be placed on probation.

“I sincerely hope this Defendant’s failed experiment in how to ‘beat the system’ is the main topic of conversation at the next sovereign citizen training event or seminar or whatever they call it. Or at the very least, that the rest of the crazies know to steer clear of our part of the world,” said District Attorney Luke Inman.

The final hearing will be September 1, which will state the final condition’s of Hopper’s probation.

If probation is violated, Hopper will have to do at least half of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.