DeSandra Thomas

DeSandra Thomas (Family photo via Gofundme)

Father Charged In Death Of 7-Year-Old Girl On I-94 After Drunk Driving Crash

August 10, 2018 - 8:28 pm

ROMULUS (WWJ) - The father of a 7-year-old girl struck and killed along I-94 in Romulus has been arrested and charged in her death. 

According to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, 47-year-old Wilburt Dion Thomas was taken into custody by Romulus police on Friday and was scheduled to be arraigned in 34th District Court Saturday on the following counts: Second Degree Murder; Involuntary Manslaughter; Child Abuse – Second Degree; Operating Under the Influence Occupant;  Controlled – Possession of Marijuana; and Alcohol – Open Container. 

Investigators alleged that at 1:47 a.m. on July 15, Thomas was driving a stolen van on I-94, west of Inkster, under the influence of alcohol and marijuana -- with his daughter, DeSandra Thomas, as a passenger. 

When he crashed the van into disabled car on the shoulder, the girl got out to find help, and was struck and killed by a vehicle while trying to cross I-94 near Merriman Rd.

"The confluence of events in this case caused the untimely death of the defendant’s young daughter," Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said, in a statement. "The alleged actions of the father included driving a stolen car while highly intoxicated, having open intoxicants and marijuana in the car, crashing into a disabled car, and allowing his daughter to leave the car and walk alone across the highway to her death. This is a tragic and devastating case."

Additionally, for the alleged theft of the van from a transportation company in Livonia -- which was discovered during the crash investigation -- Wilburt Thomas is charges with Motor Vehicle – Unlawfully Driving Away, and Larceny in a Building. 

On a Gofundme page set up to raise money for the victim's family, a message reads: "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...Fly high baby girl."

Wilburt Thomas was not charged in the hours following the incident due hospitalization for to a head injury. He faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted on all counts.