A Prior Lake man pleaded guilty Monday to being high, speeding and checking a cellphone for directions leading up to hitting a barrier wall along a south metro interstate that killed his passenger over a holiday weekend.
James R. Lapsley, 21, admitted in Dakota County District Court to one of two counts of criminal vehicular homicide filed against him in connection with the crash on May 26, 2018, on Interstate 35W in Burnsville that killed Kayli K. Thompson, 19.
The plea agreement calls for prosecutors to seek the presumptive sentence under state sentencing guidelines, which is four years. The defense intends to argue for a more lenient sentence. Sentencing is scheduled before Judge Shawn Moynihan on Feb. 24.
Officers arrived at the scene about 7:20 a.m. and found Lapsley out of his car and Thompson dead.
Authorities tested Lapsley’s blood and it came back positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
A motorist who stopped at the crash scene said he saw Lapsley speeding and hitting the median barrier twice before crashing.
Lapsley told officers that he and Thompson, of Burnsville, had been fishing that morning on Prior Lake and were heading to her house before the crash.
He said that they were checking the GPS function on her phone and passing it back and forth at the time.
Lapsley estimated he was driving 55 miles per hour when he slammed on the brakes before hitting the barrier wall, but a State Patrol investigation determined he was going about 91 mph a mile north of the crash scene and 83 mph at the time of impact.