A 21-year-old Prior Lake man has pleaded guilty in a single-vehicle crash that killed a 19-year-old Burnsville woman last May on Interstate 35W.

James Robert Lapsley pleaded guilty to one count of criminal vehicular homicide with gross negligence, Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced Monday. Lapsley will be sentenced Feb. 24 in Dakota County District Court.

The crash on I-35W near County Road 42 in Burnsville killed Lapsley’s passenger, Burnsville resident Kayli Thompson.

“We are pleased this individual has taken responsibility for this tragic crime which claimed a life in our community,” Backstrom said in a statement.

Officers were called to the crash scene at around 7:30 a.m. on May 26, 2018. The Ford Fusion Lapsley was driving had hit a sound barrier wall and was heavily damaged. Thompson was trapped inside and died at the scene. Lapsley exited the car with a bleeding knee and scrapes on his arms and legs.

A witness said he was driving south on I-35W when he saw the Fusion traveling erratically at a high rate of speed. The car wasn’t keeping its lane and nearly hit the median barrier twice, the witness said.

The car traveled past him out of view, and he next saw it in the ditch to the right of the freeway.

Lapsley had bloodshot, glassy eyes and slurred speech, according to Backstrom. His blood later tested positive for THC. Accident reconstruction showed the car was traveling at about 83 mph when it hit the barrier wall.

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