A Prior Lake man was sentenced Monday to 48 months in prison for a criminal vehicular homicide in 2018 that resulted in the death of a Burnsville woman, the Dakota County Attorney’s Office announced.

James Robert Lapsley, 21, was sentenced in Dakota County Court on one charge of felony criminal vehicular homicide by gross negligence. Lapsley pleaded guilty to the charge in January and will serve his sentence at the St. Cloud Correctional Facility.

The Dakota County Attorney’s office charged Lapsley in May with two counts of felony criminal vehicular homicide, one for gross negligence, the other for negligence under the influence of a controlled substance. The controlled substance charge was dismissed when Lapsley entered his plea.

Investigators said Lapsley collided with a sound barrier wall on Interstate 35 West near County Road 42 on May 26, 2018. The passenger in the car, 19-year-old Kayli Thompson of Burnsville, died from her injuries at the scene.

A witness said he had seen Lapsley’s vehicle driving erratically and hitting the median barrier at least twice, according to the county’s release. A reconstruction of the accident later estimated Lapsley had been driving at about 83 mph when he crashed.

Officers found Lapsley standing outside of the vehicle with bloodshot and glassy eyes and slurred speech. A sample of Lapsley’s blood later tested positive for THC.

“We are pleased this individual has taken responsibility for this tragic crime which claimed a life in our community,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in a statement following Lapsley’s plea.


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