Split charges could add up against accused Minneapolis crash killer

The man police accused of killing five young ladies while driving impaired is now charged with ten local felonies.

The charges include grossly negligent vehicular homicide and hit-and-run, as well as federal drug and gun charges. Prosecutors likely had strategic reasons to split up the criminal case, but none of the charges accuse him of driving under the influence, at least not yet.

Thompson’s facing a lifetime in prison, but not necessarily for killing Sabiriin Ali, 17, Sahra Gesaade, 20, Salma Abdikadir, 20, Sagal Hersi, 19, and Siham Adam, 19, The harshest punishment could come in federal court because of what police found in his rental car.

The Friday night crash left a trail of devastation.

Five young ladies were killed in an instant just as they prepared to celebrate a friend’s wedding.

According to court documents, a state trooper clocked Derrick Thompson’s rented Escalade at 95 mph just before he got off I-35W, ran a red light, and pinned the victims’ car against a wall.

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office charged Thompson with five counts of grossly negligent vehicular homicide and five counts of homicide hit-and-run.

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Each count carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.

But the charging documents also reveal details that could lead to even stiffer punishment.

When they served a search warrant and searched the car, police say they found more than 2000 fentanyl pills, 13 MDMA pills, and about a kilogram of cocaine.

They also found a loaded semi-automatic Glock.

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Hennepin County handed off the gun and drugs case to federal prosecutors.

"Generally the penalties in the federal system are much more severe than in the state system," said former assistant U.S. attorney Tony Capozzi.

He says the strategy of splitting the case could mean more prison time for Thompson.

Thompson would serve a minimum of 10 years and as long as a life sentence if he’s convicted in the federal case.

"When you consider his prior convictions, his criminal history, which is going to add even more time to the amount he’s going to serve in jail," Capozzi said.

Hennepin County prosecutors emphasize they’re still waiting for the results of toxicology testing on Thompson’s blood.

If they can prove he was impaired, the local charges against him could become more serious.