‘You shouldn’t have been on the road,’ Las Vegas judge sentences unlicensed driver with 19 tickets who killed bicyclist


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A judge appeared disgusted Wednesday with an unlicensed and uninsured driver – with 19 previous traffic citations — who killed a bicyclist last fall, sending him to prison for at least two years.

Julius Hopkins, 32, pleaded guilty earlier this year to a charge of reckless driving resulting in death for the Sept. 23, 2023, crash that killed Nathan Miller, 32. Hopkins had no driver’s license, registration, or insurance when he collided with Miller on Nellis Boulevard near Tropicana Avenue in the southeast valley.

Miller, a BMX world champion, died hours after the crash. Hopkins was driving a car registered to him, records showed. The registration, which appeared to be a temporary Nevada plate, expired last March.

Police cited Hopkins at the crash site and released him. Officers later arrested him Thursday, Oct. 26, after friends came to the 8 News Now Investigators with questions about the crash. The 8 News Now Investigators then aired a report on Wednesday, Oct. 18. At that point, Hopkins was not facing any charges.

<em>Julius Hopkins, 32, appears in court for sentencing on May 1, 2024. (KLAS)</em><em><button class=

Julius Hopkins, 32, appears in court for sentencing on May 1, 2024. (KLAS)

As part of a plea deal, Hopkins was eligible for probation, though he has a history of probation violations and convictions, Judge Mary Kay Holthus noted during Wednesday’s sentencing.

The 8 News Now Investigators found at least 19 traffic cases in multiple jurisdictions across Clark County where police cited or ticketed Hopkins dating back to 2010.

“You shouldn’t have been on the road,” Holthus said to Hopkins as she delivered a 28-to-72-month prison sentence. Holthus could have sentenced Hopkins to anywhere from a minimum of one year in prison or up to six years, with parole eligibility as part of the plea deal, documents said.

“I wish I would have stayed home that night, and we wouldn’t be here today, and Nathan would,” Hopkins told the Miller family as Holthus sentenced him.

Hopkins was driving 67 mph in the 35-mph zone at the time of the crash, documents said. Video the 8 News Now Investigators obtained showed the car suddenly jerked to the right and collided with Miller who was riding his bike close to the curb.

Hopkins was in the car with his wife and their child, police said.

“I too wonder what was going on in that car,” Holthus told Hopkins. “No wonder you killed someone.”

The crash report the 8 News Now Investigators obtained reveals an officer deemed Hopkins at fault for the crash, though “no enforcement action [was] taken.” The officer noted on the crash report that neither alcohol nor drugs were involved, however, there was no check box on the form for how the officer made that determination.

<em>Nathan Miller was killed when a driver hit him on Nellis Boulevard on Sept. 23, 2023. Miller died hours later in the hospital. (Nicole Miller)</em><em></div></div></div><div class=
Nathan Miller was killed when a driver hit him on Nellis Boulevard on Sept. 23, 2023. Miller died hours later in the hospital. (Nicole Miller)

Though Miller was near death, fatal investigators did not respond to the crash to start their investigation in the soon-to-be fatal investigation.

Because the case is now adjudicated, the 8 News Now Investigators can file public records requests to gather more information.

“A strict sentence for the defendant has the potential to affect the thinking and actions of others,” Miller’s sister, Nicole Manning, said Wednesday.

Hopkins has 14 traffic cases in Las Vegas Justice Court. His earliest case, filed in September 2010, was on a charge of no insurance, records showed. Several of the 14 cases remained open as of Wednesday as Hopkins had not paid thousands of dollars in fines or had not yet appeared before a judge.

<em>Judge Mary Kay Holthus presides over the arraignment of Republican electors, accused in a fake elector scheme, as they appear remotely at the Regional Justice Center, on Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)</em><em><button class=

Judge Mary Kay Holthus presides over the arraignment of Republican electors, accused in a fake elector scheme, as they appear remotely at the Regional Justice Center, on Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Hopkins also had traffic cases in Las Vegas Municipal Court, which handles such citations within Las Vegas city limits; Henderson Municipal Court and North Las Vegas Municipal Court, records showed.

“How many chances does the court keep giving at whose expense next time?” Miller’s mother, Michelle Dorotiak, said. “How many innocent lives will be torn apart or lost before the judicial system steps in and says, ‘No more?’”

In 2023, a new Nevada law decriminalized minor traffic offenses. The bill also abolished the practice of issuing warrants for failure to pay traffic fines or appear in court. Several open cases have no documented event other than the issuance of a citation.

With credit for jail time served, Hopkins will be eligible for parole in the summer of 2026.

Holthus is the same judge attacked in her courtroom last January.

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