A brave 7-year-old girl who survived an alleged drunk driving crash and tried to find help for her incapacitated father was struck and killed by another vehicle while crossing the I-94 in search of help in Romulus, Mich., early Sunday morning.
According to Click on Detroit, the crash occurred at around 3 a.m. on Sunday where Michigan State Police say the girl’s father was involved in a drunk driving crash.
After the crash, the 7-year-old, identified as DeSandra Thomas by the Detroit Free Press, feared that her father was dead, so she left the vehicle, grabbed her things and tried to cross the freeway.
“There is evidence where you could see that she walked away, climbed over the fence and walked her way across I-94,” Lt. Michael Shaw said according to Click on Detroit.
As DeSandra walked along the freeway, she texted 911 telling police that her father was hurt, maybe dead and that she needed help. Around the same time, Michigan State Police got a call from a motorist who said that she had hit a pedestrian on the I-94. Troopers did not see any visible damage on the woman’s car but started looking for a victim.
“They went out there with their flashlights, did everything they could, searched around the area but couldn’t find anything,” Shaw said.
The woman was allowed to leave. However, around the same time, Romulus officers were investigating DeSandra’s father’s crash around a mile and a half away.
“He was very intoxicated from what they could tell from the scene. They had to help him out of the vehicle,” said Shaw. “He wasn’t giving any information. Nothing indicating that anyone else was in the vehicle at the time.”
Police believe that the father, who remains unidentified, lost control of his van, hitting an abandoned vehicle and driving off the freeway into a fenced area.
DeSandra’s body was discovered in the median about a mile away from where her father crashed.
“We have a father that is in custody. His daughter is gone,” Shaw added. “The mom’s aware her daughter is gone. This woman will be affected for the rest of her life.”
“This poor child, 7-years old doesn’t get to live the rest of her life, because of a decision that an adult made,” Shaw told Fox2Detroit.
Shaw doesn’t expect the female driver who came forward to be charged in DeSandra’s death.
“You got a poor lady that was just driving down 94 and she is going to have to live with the fact that she struck a child the rest of her life,” Shaw said.
DeSandra’sfather, however, was taken into police custody and charges are pending.
Meanwhile, DeSandra’s mother, who was at work when she got the news, is dealing with the shock of losing her child.
“It’s a void that will never be filled, never be filled,” Sandria Burts told Fox2Detroit. “Anybody that she touched she was a blessing to them.”
“They say my daughter tried to save her father, she ran to get some help for her daddy,” Burts added, declining to comment on reports that her ex-husband had been drinking when the vehicle he was in crashed.
Instead, Burts wanted to focus on her daughter, whom she described as “beautiful” and “helpful.”
Burts told Fox2Detroit that she had waited 20 years to have her daughter after being told again and again that she couldn’t have children of her own.
“They told me I could not have no kids. I became a foster mother, then I adopted my two children and I got pregnant with DeSandra,” she recalled.
DeSandra’s family has set up a GoFundMe to help with the funeral and other expenses.
“DeSandra was a hero and at such a tender age she was selfless. She didn’t care about herself, she was racing against time to save her father as anyone with a heart of gold would have. In this difficult we, the family, ask for anything that can help put this beautiful baby to rest properly and allow her mother to properly mourn without the worry of anything financial,” the GoFundMe description read.