By HEATHER TOMLINSON, CJ Staff Writer
A Pulaski County man pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and DUI charges this week in connection with a March car crash that left him and his young daughter seriously injured.
James “Jimmy” Jasper, 56, of Somerset, appeared in Pulaski Circuit Court Friday before Circuit Judge David A. Tapp and entered a guilty plea to second-degree assault and a guilty plea by information to driving under the influence.
“I was drunk, driving and ran off the road and caused serious injury to my daughter,” Jasper stated during the hearing.
By pleading guilty to DUI by information, Jasper is pleading guilty to a charge that was not initially handed down by a grand jury.
When asked by Tapp what he was under the influence of at the time of the wreck, Jasper stated that he’d had alcohol that day — more than 12 beers, according to his testimony Friday.
Jasper also stated he had taken prescribed medication for anxiety the day of the crash as well.
Jasper was indicted in early April on one charge of first-degree assault in connection with the March 5 accident that occurred on Pumphouse Road, and he was arrested Friday, April 5, by the Somerset Police Department.
Somerset Police claim Jasper’s blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit of .08 when the crash occurred. Jasper was in the vehicle with his daughter, Jaden Jasper, 12, when the accident happened. Jimmy Jasper’s vehicle ran off the roadway and through a wooden fence, which crashed through the interior of the car and struck both Jaden and Jimmy.
Jaden Jasper and others attended the hearing Friday.
Jimmy Jasper 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. He spent several days in the hospital recovering from his injuries, and he has continued his recovery at home.
Jaden Jasper continues to recover from her injuries. She spent nearly a month recovering in Lexington before returning home. Jaden Jasper suffered a depressed skull fracture, a broken eye socket, and a broken cheekbone. Jaden Jasper’s family and friends were initially told her recovery would be touch-and-go, and doctors worried she may never be the same after the accident. But the young girl has been recovering in leaps and bounds, and her family has said they hoped the Northern Middle School student would return to classes this upcoming school year.
The case took a turn in May after Jimmy Jasper, who had been out on bond, was taken back into custody after positive results were returned on several drug screenings.
But the issue was cleared up after Jimmy Jasper’s attorney, Scott Foster, presented medical evidence during a hearing stating that Jimmy Jasper had been given a significant amount of medications that could have led to the positive drug screenings.
During Friday’s hearing, Commonwealth’s Attorney Eddy F. Montgomery, who is prosecuting the case, recommended a 10-year sentence to be probated for five years. That means Jimmy Jasper is to abide by all the requirements of probation — no illicit drug or alcohol use, no violations of the law, etc. — for the five-year period. If he’s found to be in violation of those conditions, the full 10-year sentence may be handed down.
Also included in the probation requirements was a nine-month stint on home incarceration, which will begin when Jimmy Jasper is officially sentenced on Aug. 16.
Montgomery said “a big factor” behind the plea deal was Jaden Jasper.
“She asked me not to send her dad to prison and to have leniency on him,” said Montgomery.