Ten counts of criminal vehicular homicide were filed Thursday against the man who blasted through a red light at 95 mph in a Cadillac Escalade last Friday night and killed five young women when he broadsided their sedan.
Derrick Thompson, 27, of Brooklyn Park, was charged by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office with two felony counts for each victim and will make his first court appearance Friday. He's accused of being under the influence while driving, and charges say he had a gun and significant amounts of fentanyl and other street drugs in the vehicle, which he fled from on foot before his arrest.
Thompson was also charged in federal court Thursday with intent to sell fentanyl and two counts related to illegal possession of a firearm.
Killed in the hit-and-run were Sabiriin Ali, 17, of Bloomington; Sahra Gesaade, 20, of Brooklyn Center; Salma Abdikadir, 20, of St. Louis Park; Sagal Hersi, 19, of Minneapolis; and Siham Adam, 19, of Minneapolis. They were running errands together for a friend's Saturday wedding. Their joint funeral Monday was attended by thousands.
Thompson, the son of former DFL state Rep. John Thompson, was hospitalized for two days and has been jailed since Monday on suspicion of murder.
The Attorney's Office decided not to charge Thompson with third-degree murder — a potential charge seen in fatal crashes — and instead went with vehicular homicide.
The office received a deadline extension on Wednesday so it could get the results of Thompson's toxicology test and other additional evidence before filing charges. But it is still awaiting toxicology findings, and the charges could be amended.
Five of the counts are for operating a vehicle in a grossly negligent manner, and the other five are for leaving the scene of a crash. An attorney for Thompson is not yet listed.
According to the charges, officers found a Glock .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun with live ammunition in the extended magazine and drugs in the vehicle, including more than 2,000 pills, or 250 grams, that tested positive for fentanyl, 13 pills of MDMA, commonly known as "ecstasy," and 35.6 grams of white powder that tested positive for cocaine.
Hennepin County sees dozens of criminal vehicular homicide cases every year, but the impact of this case is magnified given the number of victims.
County Attorney Mary Moriarty said in a statement that if Thompson is convicted, her office will seek a separate sentence for each victim. "The deaths of these five young women is devastating for their loved ones and has shaken our community," she said.
"When you get behind the wheel of a vehicle, you control a dangerous weapon capable of inflicting horrific destruction. Every driver must recognize that fact. We cannot tolerate this level of recklessness on our roads, especially when it comes with the dangerous combination of guns and drugs."
Along with possessing the drugs and gun, federal charges unsealed in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis accuse him of having with him a digital scale with a white residue.
The federal criminal complaint also revealed the possibility of a second person in the SUV at the time of the crash.
One witness told law enforcement he saw the SUV "flipping over" and two men get out, the federal charges read. He described one occupant as a light-skinned Black male, about 6 feet 1 inch tall, dreadlocks to his shoulders and wearing ripped light-colored blue jeans. Thompson has a darker complexion and was wearing green camouflage-style jeans.
There was no mention of anyone with Thompson in the state charges, a related search warrant affidavit or in the police incident report released earlier this week.
Nick Kimball, spokesman for the County Attorney's Office, said, "We are aware of that witness statement," and added that "the evidence is overwhelming that Mr. Thompson was the driver." Sgt. Garrett Parten, spokesman for the Minneapolis Police Department, declined to comment about the prospect of someone in the SUV with Thompson.
Thompson topped speeds of 95 mph in the moments leading up to the crash shortly after 10 p.m. when he exited I-35W in a Cadillac Escalade that he rented at the airport 25 minutes prior. The posted speed limit is 55 mph.
A search warrant for Thompson's blood sample says he required medical attention for a fractured hip and head laceration. Despite his injuries, Thompson ran away from the deadly crash to a nearby Taco Bell, where bystanders called police.
He was bleeding, covered in blood and sweating profusely when officers found him. They asked how he sustained his injuries and he initially told officers, "I cut myself. This is old. This is an old cut," charges say. Officers informed Thompson that his injuries looked recent. He said that he "fell" earlier in the night before officers arrested him.
A witness came to police June 20 with a cell phone video of the crash. In the video, Thompson is shown approaching the witness' car and asking for a ride.
The charges also note a number of Thompson's previous convictions.
He pleaded guilty in 2020 to a hit-and-run in California that left a tourist in a coma for weeks and with permanent injuries. Prosecutors wanted a longer sentence, but Thompson received eight years.
Officers had tried stopping him for reckless driving. A pursuit in daylight along a crowded beach road in Montecito, Calif., in September 2018 ended after he struck the pedestrian. In the vehicle, officers found 17 pounds of marijuana and more than $20,000.
Thompson was released early from prison on Jan. 19, 2023.
Once out of prison, Thompson took several steps toward having his Minnesota driver's license reinstated. State records show he paid various fees and fines in early March and took a knowledge exam.
On March 11, he was notified that his driving privileges would be reinstated once he met requirements in one state where his privileges were invalid, according to state Department of Vehicle Services spokesman Oliver Schuster.
On June 7 — nine days before the crash — Thompson got his Minnesota license after national databases showed valid driving privileges in all states. Having that valid license allowed him to rent the SUV on Friday.
The women were leaving Karmel Mall after having henna applied and doing some last-minute shopping for a close friend's wedding Saturday. As they drove on Lake Street, Thompson broadsided their Honda Civic sedan with such force that it was pushed more than 50 feet.
Thompson has a long history of driving-related offenses, including multiple convictions for driving with a revoked or suspended license, records show.
His criminal history dates back to at least 2013 when he was 17. He was found guilty of robbing a woman of her cell phone in downtown Minneapolis and received probation.
Moriarty said in her statement that she "firmly believes in the potential for redemption and second chances, but Mr. Thompson has repeatedly engaged in extraordinarily dangerous criminal driving conduct related to apparent large-scale drug dealing."
"He has caused immeasurable pain and suffering in multiple states and we will seek a significant sentence that appropriately reflects the devastation he has caused and ensures a lengthy period of incapacitation."
Star Tribune staff writer Paul Walsh contributed to this report.