Lennon man pleads guilty to drunken driving that resulted in rollover crash

Michael Hopper, left, is shown during a plea hearing Wednesday in 35th Circuit Court.

CORUNNA — A Lennon man pleaded guilty Wednesday in 35th Circuit Court to felony drunken-driving and now faces time behind bars.

Michael Hopper, 30, pleaded guilty to third-offense operating while intoxicated in connection with an a October 2020 crash on Newberry Road in Shiawassee Township in which he rolled a vehicle.

“I took my wife’s vehicle to pick up school work for my son,” Hopper said. “I had drank all night and into the early morning the night before. And I had another alcoholic beverage on the way home from picking up paperwork from my son’s school. I took the long route, and just didn’t know where I was. I didn’t see there was a sharp turn coming up and couldn’t correct it fast enough and drove my vehicle into the woods.”

Following the crash, police transported Hopper to the hospital, where a blood draw registered a 0.294 blood/alcohol content. A BAC of 0.08 is the legal limit.

Thirty-fifth Circuit Court Judge Matthew Stewart accepted Hopper’s plea and slated sentencing for 8:30 a.m. Nov. 12.

Shiawassee County Assistant Prosecutor Deana Finnegan estimated guidelines at zero to nine months.

Hopper must immobilize or sell his vehicle as part of the plea agreement.

In return for his plea, prosecutors dismissed a felony count of tampering with evidence and misdemeanor counts of driving with a suspended license and open intoxicant in a vehicle. Additionally, the prosecutor’s office agreed to recommend a sentence within the bottom half of sentencing guidelines.

If the court goes above the bottom half of sentencing guidelines, Hopper will be allowed to withdraw his plea.

Hopper also has prior misdemeanor convictions for OWI in Genesee County in 2016 and Sanilac County in 2017.

Stewart ordered bond continued, since there is currently a COVID outbreak at the Shiawassee County Jail.

However, he told Hopper to expect a sentence with some type of jail time at his sentencing.

“Our jail is struggling with the coronavirus and I don’t think it would be safe to send you over there right now,” Stewart told Hopper. “Expect incarceration up front on your sentence date. It’s going to hurt but it’s coming. Be ready for it.”

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