A 23-year-old man was sentenced to prison on Thursday for his role in the death of Grand Prairie Police Officer Brandon Tsai in November.
Colbie Hoffman pleaded guilty to two felony charges — evading arrest and detention causing death and tampering with evidence. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the first charge and 10 years for the second charge, with both sentences to run concurrently.
The incident began when Officer Tsai attempted to pull Hoffman over for failing to yield. However, Hoffman refused to stop. He instead led the officer on a high-speed chase. Hoffman made a sharp turn, causing Officer Tsai to crash into a light pole, as previously reported in The Dallas Express.
Hoffman fled the scene, and Tsai was taken to the hospital, where he later died from his injuries.
Hoffman’s vehicle had fake paper tags, making it difficult for detectives to identify him as the driver. After an exhaustive search, police located him several days later. By then, Hoffman had destroyed his paper tags, which led to the tampering with evidence charge.
Multiple Grand Prairie police officers were in attendance at the courtroom on May 4, including Grand Prairie Police Chief Daniel Scesney, who spoke to NBC 5.
“It’s tough, we’re still hurting. It’s very, very difficult,” said Scesney. “I wish I had some words of wisdom that would help here, but I don’t. It’s senseless.”
Fake paper plates, like the ones on Hoffman’s car, have become abundant in the state.
Texas lawmakers have been advancing HB 718 through the legislature, which would eliminate paper license plates. The bill passed in the House of Representatives with overwhelming support on Tuesday. The bill is now in the Texas Senate, where it was introduced on Thursday.
HB 718 has widespread support among members of law enforcement, including Chief Scesney. Following Hoffman’s sentencing on Thursday, Scesney drove to the State Capitol to show his support for the bill. He plans to speak with state lawmakers as the bill makes its way through the Senate, NBC 5 reported.
“We’ve really been focused on trying to get paper tags outlawed in Texas,” Scesney told the news outlet. “So we’re really putting a lot of energy into that. I’m hoping that happens.”
Fake paper tags are often used to disguise stolen vehicles. Motor vehicle thefts have been skyrocketing in recent years in North Texas, especially in Dallas, where auto thefts have spiked year over year since 2019, particularly in the Downtown area, as previously reported in The Dallas Express.