Thompson faces state, federal charges in crash that killed 5 women
Charges against the man accused of killing five people in a car crash were filed shortly after noon on Thursday.
Derrick John Thompson, 27, was charged with 10 counts of criminal vehicular homicide, according to a criminal complaint. Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty said her office will “seek a separate sentence for each victim if Thompson is convicted.”
The U.S. Department of Justice also charged Thompson with illegal possession of fentanyl and a firearm. According to court documents, an officer at the scene of the crash found a black leather bag containing a loaded Glock pistol with an extended magazine, three baggies containing 2,169 blue “M-Box 30” fentanyl pills, a baggie containing 14 grams of powdered fentanyl, a baggie containing 13 MDMA pills, a baggie containing 35 grams of cocaine and a digital scale.
In the federal complaint, officials say the amount of drugs found in Thompson’s vehicle constitutes more than a “user amount” and is consistent with drug distribution and sale. Additionally, Thompson is not allowed to carry a firearm, as he has a previous felony conviction.
Authorities say Thompson was convicted of fifth-degree drug possession in 2015, for which he served one year and one day in prison.
Online court records show Thompson’s first court appearance is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Friday. Moriarty’s office says Thompson is out of the hospital and in custody.
According to court records, just after 10 p.m. on Friday, a Minnesota state trooper saw a Cadillac Escalade SUV driving north in the furthest left lane on I-35W at 95 mph. The trooper reported that the Cadillac was weaving in and out of the lanes of traffic. Before the trooper could initiate a traffic stop, the Cadillac cut across all four lanes of traffic and exited at Lake Street in Minneapolis.
The trooper never activated their lights or sirens.
The Cadillac then ran a red light at the intersection of Lake Street and Second Avenue South before slamming into a car with five young women inside.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office says that Thompson, the driver of the Cadillac, ran from the crash but was later found at a nearby Taco Bell with a broken hip and a cut on his head. When asked how he received the injuries, Thompson told officers it was an old cut and that he had fallen earlier in the evening.
While at the scene, Minneapolis police officers found a receipt from Hertz Rental Car stating Thompson was the renter of the vehicle. A witness later provided law enforcement with a video from the crash in which Thompson approaches the witness and asks for a ride. A second witness who saw the crash identified Thompson in a line-up as the driver of the Cadillac, saying they were “one hundred percent positive” in their identification.
Thompson rented the vehicle 24 minutes before the crash, court records note.
Moriarty’s office says while the criminal vehicular homicide charges have been filed, evidence is still being processed as of Thursday afternoon, including Thompson’s blood toxicology and DNA tests.
A charging deadline for Thompson was initially set for noon on Wednesday, but a judge granted prosecutors a 24-hour extension to consider more evidence.
On Saturday, the Dar Al Farooq Center released the names of the victims in a fundraiser that has raised nearly half a million dollars: Sabiriin Ali, Sahra Gessade, Salma Abdikadir, Sagal Hersi and Siham Adam.
As previously reported, Minneapolis police confirmed with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on Monday that Thompson is the son of former state Rep. John Thompson.
Past driving convictions
Thompson has a prior felony conviction from a 2018 hit-and-run in Montecito, California, that injured a woman. He received an eight-year sentence for the incident in 2020 and was released from prison in January after earning credit for good conduct behind bars, California corrections officials said.
Kevin Weichbrod, the Santa Barbara prosecutor who handled the case, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS voters passed a policy change called Proposition 57 two years before that 2018 crash.
“It gave wide latitude to the Department of Corrections awarding additional custody credits for potential early parole, for both violent and non-violent offenders,” Weichbrod said.
Thompson was under the supervision of Hennepin County parole after his release.
Minnesota driving records also show Thomspon was arrested and convicted for fleeing a police officer in 2017. His driver’s license was eventually revoked, but records show it was reinstated on June 7, 2023, less than two weeks before Friday’s deadly crash.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that Thompson had applied for a Minnesota driver’s license in March 2023.
DPS also released this statement:
“Derrick John Thompson applied for a new Minnesota driver’s license in March of 2023, but the Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS) and National Driving Register through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed his driving privileges were invalid in another state. Thompson was instructed to contact that state to satisfy any requirements in that state to validate his driving privileges there before getting a Minnesota driver’s license. On June 7, 2023, Thompson was issued a driver’s license when the PDPS database showed his driving privileges were valid in all states, and he met the requirements set forth in Minnesota state statutes to obtain a Minnesota license. In Minnesota, the duration of a revoked or suspended license and reinstatement requirements are outlined by state statutes depending on the violation. Once those criteria are met, an individual is able to get their Minnesota driver’s license privileges back.“Minnesota Department of Public Safety