On Monday, August 08, 2016, in the 410th District Court of Montgomery County, Texas with Judge Michael Mayes presiding, defendant Ronnie Paul Hobgood Jr., 45, pled guilty to Driving While Intoxicated 3rd or More, a third degree felony, on the morning of trial. As part of a plea bargain agreement, Hobgood was sentenced to 50 years in prison. Assistant District Attorney Brittany Litaker prosecuted the case.
On February 7, 2016, Hobgood was leaving a bar when a bartender noticed he was highly intoxicated. The bartender approached Hobgood and attempted to prevent him from driving. Instead, witnesses reported that Hobgood started his truck, put it in reverse, and crashed into a parked car. He then attempted to flee the scene while the bartender called the police.
After being blocked in the parking lot by concerned citizens, Hobgood drove over a curb and onto the feeder road of I45 North where he collided with another vehicle before driving off at a high rate of speed. A local wrecker driver located Hobgood and called the police.
Trooper Matthew Cline with the Texas Department of Public Safety responded and began his investigation. Hobgood was reportedly unsteady on his feet, smelled strongly of alcohol, and failed field sobriety tests. A search warrant was executed for a sample of Hobgood’ s blood which revealed a blood alcohol concentration of .272, over three times the legal limit.
Hobgood has a long history of DWI related offenses dating back to 1990. He has made two prior prison trips for DWI-type offenses. Because Hobgood has been in prison twice, he is a habitual offender, making his minimum punishment in this case 25 years in prison.
Prosecutor Brittany Litaker said, “This Defendant is clearly a danger to the public and this sentence will ensure that he never has the opportunity to hurt anybody else again. Thanks to the efforts of Trooper Matthew Cline with the Department of Public Safety and the concerned citizens of Montgomery County, another habitual offender is out of our community. We would like to commend the other officers who investigated his previous cases for their willingness to testify in this case and for their continued dedication to ensuring the safety of the people who live in and travel through this community. This result once again demonstrates that such conduct will not be tolerated in Montgomery County.”