Charges dismissed against subject of Minneapolis police chase that killed Leneal Frazier

Hennepin County prosecutors dismissed charges against a driver accused of being involved in a high-speed police chase that resulted in 2021 crash that killed Leneal Frazier.

James Jeremiah Jones-Drain, 20, was facing charges of stealing a vehicle and fleeing police resulting in the death of another person in relation to a crash on July 6, 2021, which killed Frazier. The Minneapolis police officer involved in the chase, Brian Cummings, was convicted of criminal vehicular homicide for the death.  

Jones-Drain was set to go to trial on Aug. 28, but prosecutors filed a motion just days before stating they are dismissing the charges "due to an inability to prove all of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt at this time." 

According to court records, around 12:30 a.m. on July 6, Cummings was pursuing an armed robbery suspect, believed to be Jones-Drain, on Lyndale Avenue North while reaching speeds around 90-100 mph and collided with Frazier’s vehicle at the intersection of North 41st Avenue. 

RELATED: Video shows Minneapolis police squad car deadly crash during pursuit

After hitting the first vehicle, the squad car went into the southbound lane and struck a second uninvolved vehicle. Frazier’s car was pushed into a nearby bus shelter. He died at the hospital a short time later.

The armed robbery suspect fled the scene. 

Cummings was charged with second-degree manslaughter and criminal vehicular homicide, pleading guilty to the latter charge in April 2023. He was sentenced earlier this month to serve less than a year at the Hennepin County workhouse. 

Jones-Drain wasn’t arrested until January 2023, and he pleaded not guilty to the charges related to the fatal crash, which have now been dismissed. However, Jones-Drain remains in custody for other pending charges including simple robbery and being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm. 

Cummings' lawyer Tom Plunkett gave FOX 9 the following statement about the dismissal:

"Mr. Cummings risked his life many times to protect people. He sits in jail. Mr. Jones-Drain, a gun toting thief, who bears responsibility for the death of Leneal Frazier, and stole from the innocent gets a break?  Minneapolis is a better place to be a criminal than a law enforcement officer."

Nick Kimball, Hennepin County Attorney's Office spokesperson provided the following statement:

"Mr. Plunkett’s client sits in jail because he voluntarily pled guilty to criminal vehicular homicide and admitted under oath, while represented by Mr. Plunkett, to needlessly driving in a grossly negligent manner at a speed of almost 100 mph in a residential area, causing the unfortunate death of Mr. Frazier. It is also worth noting that Mr. Cummings admitted he had legitimate alternatives to his criminal conduct and that he caused excessive danger to the general public with his actions. If his admitted conduct had not been so far from the norm, he would not have been charged, pled guilty, or been convicted."