The five young women who were killed when an allegedly speeding SUV struck their car Friday night in Minneapolis were remembered as “shining stars of hope.”
They were identified as Sabiriin Ali, a 17-year-old who had just graduated from high school, and college students Sagal Hersi and Siham Adam, both 19; and Sahra Gesaade and Salma Abdikadir, both 20. The five were close friends who had been at a shopping center preparing for a wedding planned for Saturday, according to CBS News Minnesota. They were all pronounced dead at the scene.
Thousands of people gathered Monday for prayer services at the Dar Al Farooq Center, the mosque where they volunteered and taught, before all five were buried at the Garden of Eden Islamic Cemetery in Burnsville, south of Minneapolis.
The driver, identified as Derrick John Thompson, 27, initially fled the scene but was apprehended within an hour, Minneapolis Police Department spokesperson Adam Kennedy told HuffPost. He was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center for treatment and an evaluation. According to police, the SUV had been spotted by a state trooper while it was on the highway, but it exited, ran through a red light and broadsided the women’s car before the trooper could try to pull the driver over for speeding.
The SUV was traveling in excess of 95 mph when it was spotted by the trooper, Howie Padilla, the communications director for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, told HuffPost.
Thompson, the son of former Minnesota state Rep. John Thompson, was arrested Monday afternoon and booked into Hennepin County Jail. It is unclear whether he has an attorney. (John Thompson did not respond to requests for comment.)
Derrick Thompson has a history of driving-related offenses, and his driver’s license had previously been revoked, according to court records. It had just been reinstated on June 7, and he was released from prison earlier this year, according to KSTP-TV in St. Paul. Thompson had been convicted in a hit-and-run crash in Montecito, California, that left a woman in a coma, KEYT-TV in Sanata Barbara, California, reported. In that incident, he refused to stop for a police officer, hit a pedestrian and fled the scene. In his car, police found more than 17 pounds of cannabis and over $20,000 in cash. He pleaded guilty to felony charges and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
In the Minnesota crash, authorities are facing criticism for the leak of a surveillance video that shows the collision and the victims’ car being pushed out of the intersection.
“We do not know who shared the Metro Transit surveillance video to be posted online, but we will conduct an internal review along with Metro Transit PD to try to determine the source,” Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara said in a statement shared with HuffPost. “I will also review and consider policy changes to limit how video of evidentiary value may be received from an outside agency by members of the MPD.
“This incident is senseless and incredibly tragic,” O’Hara said. “I personally responded to this horrific scene … . Our hearts break for the families and loved ones of these innocent, young victims who had their entire lives ahead of them. While the MPD has made an arrest in this case, our investigation continues relentlessly, so that we can ensure the strongest possible evidence is provided to prosecute this offender for his crimes to the fullest extent of the law. And the MPD will remain committed to providing support to the victims’ families throughout this process.”
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