Skip to main content

Charges: Fatal I-35W crash driver was high, speeding and on phone

The crash killed the driver's 20-year-old girlfriend.

After a lengthy investigation, charges have now been filed against the driver in a fatal crash on I-35W that left his girlfriend dead.

James Robert Lapsley, 21, of Prior Lake, has been charged with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide following the incident on the interstate in Burnsville on May 26, 2018.

Lapsley and his girlfriend, Kayli Thompson, 19, were returning home after going fishing. A witness traveling south on I-35W noticed their Ford Fusion was being driven erratically, with the driver not maintaining their lane, and almost hitting the median barrier twice.

A short time later, the Fusion veered off the road and hit a sound barrier wall to the right of I-35W, sustaining extensive damage.

Lapsley only suffered a cut on his knee and scrapes on his arms and legs, but Thompson suffered fatal injuries and died at the scene, despite wearing her seat belt.

Officers who spoke with Lapsley after the crash observed he had bloodshot, glassy eyes and slurred speech. A blood sample analysis turned up traces of THC – an active ingredient in cannabis.

Furthermore, Lapsley told police that they were heading back to Thompson's house at the time of the crash, but had been passing a phone back and forth between them as they checked directions.

He estimated he was traveling at 55 mph before hitting the sound wall, but data obtained from the Fusion and a review of traffic cameras concluded he was driving at 83 mph when the car hit the wall, and had been traveling 91 mph about a mile north of the crash site.

In announcing the charges, Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said: "This appears to be another tragic example of impaired driving that has claimed a life on our roads."

Next Up


Charges: Teen speeding before crash that killed mother, injured her son

The teenager was driving at speeds between 72-89 mph at the time of the crash.

Northland Vapor in Moorhead, Minn.

Northland Vapor calls St. Paul regulators 'overzealous' in lawsuit over THC sales

The small Minnesota business said the lawsuit was "misleading" and "shameful."


Excelsior chocolate shop ransacked by thieves to reopen

Truffle Hill will reopen to the public on Friday.

Company agrees to changes after child workers found in MN meat plants

An investigation found children ages 13-17 working hazardous jobs at the plants.


Drinks can company to lay off almost 100 workers, close St. Paul plant

State authorities were informed of the impending closure.


Suspect in Minneapolis bar killing charged with weapons crime

The suspect has not been charged with murder in the case as of Wednesday.

snow, blowing snow

A monster storm is coming next week: What will happen?

What we know with high confidence at this point is that there will be a monster storm in the central U.S. by the early and middle part of next week.

police lights

Boy safe after kidnapping by non-custodial parent in Mankato

The search prompted the temporary shutdown of I-35 Tuesday night.


11 face charges after being found 'exploring' Fridley sewer system

A 911 caller reported seeing a group removing a manhole cover Monday night.


Man killed by St. Paul police ID'd by family, community demands answers

The man was identified as 24-year-old Howard Johnson.


Screen Shot 2020-06-10 at 8.59.11 AM

Charges: Driver caused fatal crash after running red light at speed

The crash killed one driver, a man from Coon Rapids.


Driver killed in fiery crash on I-35W in Burnsville

The victim is a 56-year-old man from Lakeville.

Screen Shot 2020-05-31 at 5.48.13 PM

Trucker who drove toward protesters on I-35W bridge charged with felony

The 35-year-old from Otsego is also facing a gross misdemeanor charge.

Charges: Driver was watching porn moments before causing fatal crash

The driver was going 20 mph faster than the vehicle he rear-ended.

Screen Shot 2020-01-15 at 7.46.06 AM

Delays on I-35W in south Minneapolis after semi crash

There are crashes on both the north and southbound lanes.