APPLE VALLEY, Minn. — A Prior Lake man has pleaded guilty to a May 2018 crash that killed his passenger on Interstate 35W in Burnsville.
James Robert Lapsley, 21, on Monday, Jan. 6, pleaded guilty in Dakota County District Court to one count of criminal vehicular homicide (gross negligence) in the death of 19-year-old Kayli Thompson of Burnsville.
“We are pleased this individual has taken responsibility for this tragic crime which claimed a life in our community,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in a Monday statement.
The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and fines of up to $20,000. Judge Shawn Moynihan set a sentencing hearing for Feb. 24 in Hastings.
On May 26, 2018, Minnesota State Patrol troopers responded about 7:30 a.m. to a crash on I-35 just south of Burnsville Parkway. They found a Ford Fusion in the ditch with heavy damage to its front end.
Lapsley, who was already outside the vehicle and bleeding from cuts to his arms and legs, admitted to driving the car, according to a criminal complaint against him. Thompson, who was still in the passenger seat wearing her seat belt, died at the scene.
Lapsley told investigators the pair had been fishing that morning, and they were on their way back to Thompson’s house when the crash occurred. Although Lapsley estimated he was traveling about 55 mph at the time of the crash, State Patrol reconstructionists determined the vehicle was doing about 83, the complaint said. They found that neither road conditions nor mechanical defects in the vehicle contributed to the crash
According to the complaint, a sample of Lapsley’s blood collected after the crash tested positive for THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana.