July 17, 2018 01:54 PM

A 7-year-old Michigan girl was struck and killed by a vehicle on Sunday while trying to get help after her father crashed their car while he was allegedly driving drunk, PEOPLE confirms.

DeSandra Thomas was a passenger when her dad, who has not been named, allegedly drunkenly crashed into an abandoned vehicle on Interstate 94 outside Detroit early Sunday morning, Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw said in a video uploaded on Twitter.

The girl survived the crash and sent text messages to 911 asking for help, reportedly believing her father had been killed in the wreck.

Lt. Shaw said a 911 dispatcher was texting with the girl — trying to make sure she was safe and remained where she was as police attempted to locate her — but DeSandra tried to cross the interstate and was fatally struck before police could find her.

She died instantly, Shaw said.

“Here’s a 7-year-old girl who’s not going to go to prom,” he said. “She’s not going to graduated high school, go to college, have kids, have a career.”

State police first learned of the incident after responding about 3:35 a.m. to the collision that killed DeSandra — when a female driver called to say that she may have hit a pedestrian — and only later did they realize that wreck’s connection to the girl and her dad’s crash, according to the Detroit Free Press.


DeSandra’s body was located in the interstate median, the paper reports. Around the same time, local police were investigating the alleged drunk-driving crash as well as looking for DeSandra, who had been texting with 911.

The driver who hit her was questioned and later released, according to the Press. It is not clear whether she will be charged.

DeSandra’s father remains hospitalized with a head injury, according to state police. Lt. Shaw said authorities are waiting on the results from blood testing and other investigative work before prosecutors determine possible charges.

The Romulus Police Department is investigating the suspected drunk driving incident, Shaw said.

“You have the poor lady that was driving down I-94 that struck [DeSandra] and who is going to deal with that for the rest of her life, a family who lost a daughter, a dad who is currently in the hospital now because of being involved in that drunk driving incident, [and] a mom who lost a daughter,” Shaw said.

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Speaking to local station TV station WDIV, DeSandra’s mother, Sandria Burts, said she does not want the girl’s father to be charged.

“He has to live the rest of his life knowing that his daughter is not here anymore,” Burts said. “So him doing jail, that’s not going to do him any harm. Maybe he can do an outreach program and talk to people and tell them how important it is to not drink.”

She continued: “The charge is when he wakes up and not see his baby anymore. No, I don’t want him charged. I hope that they don’t charge him. That’s torture enough. Nobody should have to live with the fact that their baby is gone. I want him to be able to talk to people, because you never know how many lives he’ll be able to save by telling his story.”

A GoFundMe page has been created to help with DeSandra’s funeral expenses.

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