Man whose daughter was injured in alleged DUI pleads not guilty
By HEATHER TOMLINSON, CJ Staff Writer Commonwealth Journal
A Somerset man indicted in March in connection with a car accident that left his 12-year-old daughter severely injured appeared in court this week.
James “Jimmy” Jasper, 56, of Somerset pleaded not guilty Thursday in Pulaski Circuit Court during an arraignment before Pulaski Circuit Judge David A. Tapp.
Jasper was arrested Friday, April 5, by the Somerset Police Department and charged with first-degree assault in connection with the March 5 accident that occurred on Pumphouse Road in Somerset and left Jimmy Jasper and his daughter, Jaden Jasper, severely injured.
The indictment states that Jimmy Jasper committed first-degree assault “ ... by operating his vehicle in such a manner, thereby causing serious physical injury upon J.B.J. (Jaden Jasper) and under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.”
Somerset Police claim Jasper’s blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit of .08.
Jaden Jasper just recently returned home to continue her recovery after spending nearly a month in the hospital in Lexington. A majority of that was spent at the University of Kentucky Medical Center, and Jaden was moved to the Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Center for a few days before she returned home in early April.
Jimmy Jasper’s vehicle ran off the road on Pumphouse Road and through a wooden fence, which crashed through the interior of the car and struck both Jaden and Jimmy.
Jaden Jasper, a seventh-grader at Northern Middle School, suffered a depressed skull fracture, a broken eye socket, and a broken cheekbone. Doctors warned her family she may never be the same again, and she remained sedated for several days while medical experts debated what to do.
But she made leaps and bounds in her recovery, and she was even able to make an appearance at a recent fundraiser held to raise money to go toward her medical bills.
Jimmy Jasper was also injured in the crash. He was struck and impaled by a fence plank in the shoulder area and also suffered a broken collarbone, broken clavicle, broken ribs, broken vertebrates, broken wrist, collapsed aorta, and a skull fracture.
On Thursday, Jimmy Jasper appeared with local defense attorney Scott Foster, who said Jimmy Jasper has the full support of his family and friends.
“Mr. Jasper is very fortunate to have the full love and support of his wife and his daughter, Jaden, through this challenging time,” said Foster. “His church family and friends have been very supportive and Mr. Jasper is thankful for that.”
Foster declined to comment further except to say that weather also was a factor in the March 5 crash. The area was getting a mixture of freezing rain and snow when Jimmy Jaspers’ vehicle crashed through the fence on Pumphouse Road.
“ ... Weather was a huge factor in this tragic accident,” said Foster. “We only received the discovery documents from the Commonwealth today and as we go through it, we will try to learn what is at the heart of the case brought by the Commonwealth.
“Until then, we cannot comment further except to ask for the continued prayers and support for Jaden,” Foster added.