MINNEAPOLIS – Derrick John Thompson has been charged in a federal criminal complaint with illegal possession of fentanyl and a firearm following a deadly vehicle crash that killed five victims, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.
According to court documents, on June 16, 2023, a trooper with the Minnesota State Patrol observed a black Cadillac SUV speeding north on I-35W, traveling at 95 miles per hour in a 55 miles per hour speed zone. The trooper began following the SUV but did not initiate the emergency lights or attempt to make a traffic stop because the trooper did not want to cause the driver, later identified as Thompson, 27, to continue to drive recklessly on city streets. The trooper observed Thompson abruptly cut across four lanes of traffic to exit the freeway at the Lake Street exit. At the intersection of 2nd Avenue South and East Lake Street, Thompson sped through a red light at the intersection without stopping or slowing. The SUV struck at full speed the driver’s side of a Honda Civic that was traveling lawfully through the intersection. All five occupants of the Honda Civic, four adult females and one juvenile female, were killed. When law enforcement responded to the scene of the crash, witnesses told officers that Thompson had fled on foot through a nearby alley. Officers found Thompson sitting on the curb outside of a nearby restaurant. Officers detained Thompson, who was later transported to Hennepin County Medical Center for evaluation.
According to court documents, an officer found at the scene a Hertz rental record for the Cadillac SUV indicating that Thompson rented the vehicle from a Hertz located at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport approximately 30 minutes before the crash. After obtaining a warrant to search the SUV, officers found a black leather bag on the front passenger side floor that contained a loaded Glock pistol with an extended magazine, as well as three baggies containing 2,169 blue “M-Box 30” fentanyl pills, a baggie containing an additional 14 grams of powder fentanyl, a baggie containing 13 MDMA pills, a baggie containing 35 grams of cocaine, and a digital scale.
Because Thompson has a prior felony conviction, he is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition at any time.
The complaint charges Thompson with possession of a firearm as a felon, possession of fentanyl, and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime. If convicted of the charges, Thompson faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in federal prison. Thompson, who is currently in state custody in Hennepin County, will make his initial appearance in U.S. District Court at a later date.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI, the Minneapolis Police Department, the Minnesota State Patrol, and the Minneapolis–St. Paul Airport Police Department, in close coordination with the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Calhoun-Lopez and Ruth S. Shnider are prosecuting the case.
A complaint is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.