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

The crash killed the driver's 20-year-old girlfriend.
Author:
Publish date:

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

Mayo Belle Plaine

Mayo temporarily closes 5 clinics in southern MN amid COVID surge

The Mayo is reallocating staff to other sites as it deals with the COVID outbreak.

soda pop

MDH finds 'troubling' trend in how many sugary drinks students are consuming

Nearly half of students have a sugary drink a day. Health officials recommend limiting it to one per week or fewer.

Rent, mortgage, house, key, door

Minnesotans have till Dec. 7 to apply for housing assistance

Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Penny Flanagan issued a press release urging Minnesotans behind on bills to apply

coronavirus

Dec. 4 COVID-19 update: 61 deaths, hospitalizations drop day-over-day

The update includes new data on cases, deaths, positivity rates and hospitalizations.

Kevin Nokels

Mystery over Duluth hospital CEO's sudden departure

Kevin Nokels stepped down this week, after less than 18 months in the role.

lola missing dog

1 dog still missing after woman's vehicle was stolen in Minneapolis

The woman was dropping her daughter off at daycare when someone stole her car with her two dogs inside.

Zachary Robinson

St. Paul man pleads guilty to murder of woman pregnant with his child

The 27-year-old will spend the next five decades in prison.

fire, firefighter

Fire at southern Minnesota farm kills 2,000 pigs

The fire started around 8 a.m. Thursday.

Minnesota Sex Offender Program Moose Lake

Man at Moose Lake sex offender facility dies from COVID-19

It's the first COVID-related death of anyone in Minnesota's sex offender program.

Chris Hovan

Charges: Ex-Viking Chris Hovan drove drunk with child in the vehicle

His blood-alcohol concentration was more than three times the legal limit, charges say.

Gov. Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz to address Minnesotans about COVID-19 on Friday

The number of COVID-19 cases at long-term care facilities have been increasing after outbreaks at the facilities slowed 'significantly' over the summer.

Related

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.

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 2020-05-31 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.

Screen Shot 2019-08-20 at 7.08.28 AM

Charges: Driver drank Fireball before crashing into Starbucks

The driver and two customers were injured in the crash.

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.