Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that James Robert Lapsley, age 21 of Prior Lake, pled guilty to one count of Criminal Vehicular Homicide (Gross Negligence) in connection with a single vehicle crash that took place on 35W in Burnsville on May 26, 2018, that resulted in the death of 19-year-old Kayli Thompson of Burnsville. Judge Shawn Moynihan set the sentencing for February 24, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. in Hastings.
On May 26, 2018 around 7:30 a.m., law enforcement was dispatched to a single vehicle crash with injuries on I-35W near County Road 42 in Burnsville on a report of a Ford Fusion with heavy front-end damage. A female passenger was trapped inside the vehicle. Officers arrived and located the Fusion, which had hit a sound barrier wall and sustained extensive damage. Tire tracks showed the Fusion had veered off the interstate and crashed into the barrier wall. Lapsley, already out of the Fusion, was bleeding from his knee and had scrapes on his arms and legs. He admitted to driving. A male witness stated that he had been driving south on I-35W when he observed the Fusion driving erratically and at a high rate of speed. He reported that the Fusion nearly hit the median barrier at least twice and was not maintaining its lane. The Fusion drove past him out of view and he next saw it in the ditch to the right of I-35W after he came to the top of a hill. Emergency medical personnel arrived and attempted to render aid to the victim. However, her injuries were fatal, and she died at the scene. Officers spoke to Lapsley and observed him to have bloodshot, glassy eyes and slurred speech. A search warrant was executed for a sample of Lapsley's blood, which later tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It was determined from the accident reconstruction that the Fusion was travelling at approximately 83 miles per hour when it hit the barrier wall.
Additional facts pertaining to this case can be found in the criminal complaint can be found at Criminal Complaint Search. The previous news release is available at County Attorney News Releases. If in custody, a mug shot can be viewed at Inmate Search.
Backstrom commented: “We are pleased this individual has taken responsibility for this tragic crime which claimed a life in our community." Backstrom extended his sympathy to the family and friends of Kayli Thompson.
Backstrom praised Assistant County Attorney Cory Monnens, who prosecuted the case. Backstrom thanked the Minnesota State Patrol who assisted in this crash for their thorough investigation and the Burnsville Police Department who also assisted.
If you have questions, contact James Backstrom at 651-438-4440.