Father sentenced in connection to death of 7 year-old killed while trying to get him help on I-94

Posted at 5:19 PM, Jan 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-24 17:19:18-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Wilburt Thomas will spend a minimum of 4 1/2 years behind bars in connection with the death of his daughter Desandra.

Earlier this month, Thomas pleaded guilty to manslaughter, child abuse and operating while intoxicated.

Last July, Thomas was driving drunk in a stolen van with Desandra. He crashed the van and Desandra got out to go find her dad help.

Police say she reached out to 911 as she tried crossing I-94. That's when she was hit and killed by a car.

At his sentencing on Thursday, Thomas said he is remorseful and thinks about his daughter every day.

Desandra's mother, Dria Burts, held a picture of her and wiped away tears as she told the court, "She was a wonderful child. She was a light of anyone she knew. I love my daughter, as I'm sure her father loved her as well. This is just traumatic for all parties involved."

Thomas could spend up to 15 years behind bars. He was given credit for time served in connection with the operating while intoxicated charge.

Judge Michael Hathaway said, "Drinking and driving don't mix and they have tragic consequences."