Parental rights at stake for dad in DUI crash

Posted at 3:52 PM, Feb 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-17 16:52:32-05

A father fights to keep his daughter alive while he's accused of causing her critical injuries.  The battle now heads to juvenile court with the state hoping to get custody of his kids.

A hearing to terminate the parental rights for Benjamin Thompson, 36, is held Friday in Douglas County Juvenile Court.

Thompson in jail on 5 felonies including child abuse resulting in serious injury, DUI with 4 prior conviction, and leaving the scene of an accident.

The crash happened the afternoon of October 24 at HWY 75 & Sorenson Parkway.  In court, police say Thompson was t-boned after running a red light and took off.  They find him in Miller Park throwing beers into a trash can, his 3 daughters still in the car, 2 were unconscious.  Kazlynn Thompson, 8, is taken to the hospital with major brain damage.

"I'm not (expletive) up I’ve had a couple of beers but I’m not (expletive) up,” Thompson told OPD Officer Alan Peatrowsky.

The court proceedings will decide if parental rights for Thompson, Kazlynn’s mother Tiffany Sackett, and Terri Hetrick, mother of the youngest child, will be terminated.  The kids would be turned over to Health and Human Services if rights are terminated.

Officials say Kazlynn has little brain activity and were going to take her off life support until her father stopped it.  Court documents say Kazlynn's health has deteriorated such that an End of Life Decision needs to be made.

Charles Bressman, Sackett’s attorney, says she doesn't want Kazlynn to suffer anymore.

Some believe Thompson won't let her die so he doesn't have to face a motor vehicle homicide charge.

"It is a tough very tough decision. It sounds like she's still being kept alive by artificial means and so my client's position has not changed as far as her thinking the little girl should go to heaven,” Bressman explained.

The termination of parental rights hearing will continue in March.