Driver arrested for fatal Minneapolis crash pled guilty in earlier wreck

FOX 9 has identified the man suspected of driving while impaired and causing a crash that killed five young women.

FOX 9 is told the suspect is 27-year-old Derrick Thompson, the son of former state Rep. John Thompson. Thompson was booked Monday afternoon in the Hennepin County Jail on probable cause murder. Monday, the five victims killed in the crash were laid to rest in Burnsville.

California court records show in 2020, Thompson was sentenced to eight years in prison for a 2018 crash in California that left a woman in a coma, fighting for her life.

Prosecutors said the case stemmed from an incident in September 2018. Police with the Ventura Police Department in California tried to pull Thompson over while he was driving with his friends on the shoulder of the U.S. 101, but he drove away. Thompson lost control of the vehicle and hit a woman. The victim was a tourist who was staying at a nearby house with several friends. Prosecutors said Thompson immediately fled the scene, while the victim fought for her life in a coma for several weeks.

Derrick John Thompson's mugshot after being arrested in California.

Two years later, Thompson pleaded guilty to all felony counts, including evading an officer causing injury, leaving the scene of an accident causing permanent injury and conspiracy to sell marijuana. He also admitted to the special allegation of personally inflicting great bodily injury causing a comatose condition due to brain injury.

"This case was a series of dangerous criminal choices that resulted in a horrendous conclusion. The victim has made a miraculous recovery but will still live with the injuries inflicted by this defendant for the rest of her life," said District Attorney Joyce Dudley in 2020.

A quick search of Minnesota court records shows Thompson has several other convictions, several related to driving. That includes a conviction in 2017 in St. Paul where Thompson was accused of fleeing a police officer after being found passed out behind the wheel of his vehicle.

It should be noted a formal criminal complaint has not yet been filed against Thompson due to the holiday weekend. Thompson is expected to be charged on Tuesday. Typically, FOX 9 does not identify suspects until they have been formally charged but made an exception in this case due to the serious nature of the incident.

On Tuesday, the Department of Public Safety said Thompson did have a valid driver's license in Minnesota, though he was facing losing it again due to an insurance issue. His license was reinstated in March.