Father pleads not guilty in crash that injured Somerset child

SOMERSET, Ky. (WKYT) - James Jasper could serve 10 to 20 years in prison if he’s found guilty of first degree assault.

He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges Thursday morning in Pulaski Circuit Court.

The allegations are that Jasper was drunk on March 5th when the SUV he and his daughter were in crashed on Pumphouse Rd. Both were hurt…but Jaden has required weeks of recovery after several planks hit her in the head and face.

“It is an awkward situation. Jasper’s daughter is the alleged victim in this case and she fully supports her father at this time” said Scott Foster, James Jasper’s attorney.

It’s a case that could require Jaden to testify against her own father.

“That puts everybody in a hard spot. No one wants to call a child to testify against her parent. We’ve done it before in cases,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Eddy Montgomery who says he plans to meet with Jaden and her family as part of the trial preparations.

And as a condition of bond typically suspects are ordered to stay away from their alleged victims. That’s nearly impossible in this case since Jaden and James Jasper share the same house.

“The main rule here is that he not be allowed to drive with her in the car. That’s our main concern at this point,” said Montgomery.

But Jasper can drive himself. He wasn’t charged with DUI….and didn’t lose his license.

“The charge is assault first based on the DUI driving. DUI is a misdemeanor and assault is 10 to 20 years. It may be added later. It’s a minor charge compared to what he is facing,” said Montgomery.

The judge set a trial date for July 10th.

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