ROMULUS, Mich. – A 7-year-old Detroit girl was killed Sunday while crossing I-94 after surviving a crash with her father behind the wheel.
Police believe alcohol was a factor in the crash involving her father. When DeSandra Thomas got out of the vehicle and tried to find help, she was killed while trying to cross the freeway.
DeSandra's mother spoke Monday about her daughter, and she said she doesn't want the girl's father to face charges in the case.
DeSandra's father shared parental custody with her mother, Sandria Burts.
"I'm not mourning her," Burts said. "I'm rejoicing with her life and understanding that she was a beautiful child."
Burts and her daughter's father parted ways amicably years ago, and Burts said that DeSandra and her father had been attending a baby shower on Sunday evening.
"I was angry at first," said Anthony Burts, the child's stepfather. "She told me this morning, 'That's not what our daughter would want. She wouldn't want us to be angry.'"
As devastated as Burts was by her daughter's death, she said she hopes DeSandra's father isn't charged with a crime.
"He has to live the rest of his life knowing that his daughter is not here anymore," Sandria 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.
"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."