A man who served a hit-and-run sentence in a California prison until his release earlier this year remained jailed Tuesday, awaiting charges after a crash killed five young women in Minneapolis when a speeding driver blew past a state trooper, ran a red light and slammed into their car.
Derrick John Thompson, 27, of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, was evaluated at a hospital and then booked into the Hennepin County Jail on Monday in the aftermath of Friday’s crash. The victims — Salma Abdikadir, Siham Adam, Sabiriin Ali, Sahra Gesaade and Sagal Hersi — were all between 17 and 20 years old.
Thousands of mourners from the area’s large Somali American community attended the young women’s funeral Monday at the Dar Al-Farooq mosque in Bloomington, where the five had been active members. They were returning home from a Somali mall where they had henna applied in preparation for a friend’s wedding scheduled for the next day when their car was struck.
Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty said her office was reviewing the case and would make a charging decision soon. Prosecutors have until noon Wednesday due to the holiday weekend.
“Our community is grieving the loss of the five bright young people whose lives were cut short in a senseless, selfish act of reckless driving,” Moriarity said in a statement. “Instead of celebrating a joyous wedding, these families were forced to plan funerals and deal with the devastation of this tragedy.”
California court records show that Thompson was released from a prison there earlier this year after serving part of an eight-year sentence for his conviction in a 2018 hit-and-run that severely injured a woman in Montecito, California. Minnesota court records also show he was convicted twice of fleeing police in his own state. Jail records don’t show whether he currently has an attorney.
In Friday’s crash, a state trooper first spotted a speeding driver on Interstate 35W in Minneapolis around 10 p.m., police said in a statement. The driver exited the highway before the trooper could attempt a traffic stop and crashed into another vehicle with four women and a girl inside. All five died at the scene.
Police said the driver ran from the scene. Officers searched the area before taking Thompson into custody. He was evaluated at a hospital and then booked into the jail Monday.
Minnesota court records show that Thompson is the son of former state Rep. John Thompson, of St. Paul, who was a sharp critic of police during his one term in office. The elder Thompson became a Black Lives Matter activist following the police killing of his friend, Philando Castile, in suburban St. Paul in 2016. Minnesota House Democrats expelled him from their caucus in 2021 after old allegations of domestic abuse resurfaced, following an acrimonous traffic stop in St. Paul in which he claimed he was racially profiled, and he lost his primary election last year. A working number for the father could not immediately be found.