Last week, Dr. Matthew Hopkins was given permission to leave Park County so he can travel to a facility based in St. Paul, Minnesota. Hopkins received the court’s blessing after pleading not guilty to several charges related to a head-on crash that took place in Cody on March 14; authorities say Hopkins caused the crash by “huffing” compressed air from a Dust-Off can while driving, passing out and drifting into the oncoming lane of traffic. The driver of the truck he hit suffered injuries.
Hopkins faces a felony count of aggravated assault and battery — alleging he “intentionally or knowingly” caused an injury with his SUV — and misdemeanor counts of driving while under the influence of a controlled substance and unlawful use of a toxic substance.
He’s been out of jail and free on bond in that case since March 22; he also has a still-pending misdemeanor DUI charge from last November, which alleges he drove drunk and clipped a vehicle parked at Walgreen’s. Hopkins had been out on bond in that case when he was arrested on the huffing and driving allegations last month.
At the request of the Park County Attorney’s Office, District Court Judge Steven Cranfill added a new condition to Hopkins’ bond during the April 19 hearing, prohibiting him from possessing glue, aerosol or any other toxic vapor while the felony case is pending. Prosecutors asked for that condition after staff at Wyoming Home and Ranch reported that, on April 11, Hopkins went into the store two times and bought canned air. A Wyoming Home and Ranch employee brought the purchases to the attention of the store’s owner (who notified police) because “they were aware of Dr. Matthew Hopkins’ recent arrest in which he was alleged to have been huffing,” Cody Police Lt. Jason Stafford wrote in an affidavit included in court records.
Through his court-appointed attorney, Scott Kath, Hopkins did not oppose the new bond condition.
Deputy Park County Prosecuting Attorney Leda Pojman expressed some qualms about allowing Hopkins to travel to Minnesota.
“The state wants to give the defendant a chance to go to treatment, but the state also wants to keep the defendant under the watchful eye of local law enforcement, for I think what’s the obvious reasons,” Pojman said.
After requesting that the county attorney’s office receive regular updates on Hopkins’ status at the Minnesota facility, she ultimately did not object.
“The state hopes that they don’t regret that,” Pojman said.
Public records show Hopkins’ struggles with alcohol and controlled substances date back to his days as a medical intern in 2003. Hopkins said in court last month that he’s closed down his solo practice, Integrated Psychiatric Solutions, “because of this.”
A trial in the huffing case is tentatively set for Aug. 10.