Lufkin Police have identified the man who died in Thursday night’s car chase as LeEdward Hopkins, 43, of Houston.
Hopkins and 42-year-old Tony Wayne Mitchell of Houston robbed First State Bank of Louise at gunpoint about 11:30 a.m. Thursday, according to authorities. They fled the bank at 505 E. Boling Highway in Wharton with an undisclosed amount of cash.
Special agents with the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division assisted Wharton Police Department with the investigation and identifying the men.
DPS was told that Hopkins was in the Lufkin area, heading north on Loop 287 in a black Dodge Challenger R/T about 7 p.m. Thursday, according to a statement from Lufkin Police.
A Lufkin officer saw the vehicle near the intersection of Old Moffett Road about 7:10 p.m. The officer tried to make a traffic stop, but Hopkins didn’t pull over.
Hopkins continued on to U.S. 59 Highway north toward Nacogdoches as multiple agencies, including Pct. 1 Constable Tom Selman joined the pursuit. Selman tried to shoot out Hopkins’ back tire but was unsuccessful, according to the statement. Selman and the lead officer in the pursuit also told Hopkins to pull over using their PAs, however he refused to stop.
The pursuit reached speeds of more than 130 mph as Hopkins neared the Nacogdoches city limits. He lost control of the vehicle after one of his tires was spiked near Woodland Hills Golf Course, according to the statement.
The vehicle veered off the road, hit a power pole and went airborne into a tree before eventually coming to a stop in a tree line near the 12th hole. The engine block caught fire, but it had been thrown from the vehicle, according to the statement.
Hopkins was pronounced dead at the scene by a Nacogdoches County Justice of the Peace. No one else was injured in the crash.
An undisclosed amount of cash was recovered from the vehicle, along with a loaded pistol and additional magazines, according to the statement.
The Angelina County Sheriff’s Office, Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office and Nacogdoches County constables also assisted with the incident.
At this time, Mitchell remains at large. Lufkin Police shared an image of his mugshot that notes he appears to be 5-foot-11 and 165 pounds. Those with information Mitchell's whereabouts are asked to contact the Wharton Police Department at (979) 532-3131.
LPD also released dashcam footage from the point of view of Selman and one of the responding officers. The footage can be viewed at the Lufkin Daily News website. Viewer discretion is advised.