Franklin Jackson (pictured) was charged with reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence of a crash Sunday afternoon, after he smashed his SUV into a guard rail and was reportedly too drunk to notice that his 4-year-old son had been ejected through the vehicle’s rear window. His son, Franklin Jr. (pictured), who was not wearing his seatbelt, died of head trauma, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Franklin’s wife, Linda Bassett, and their three other children — ages 1, 2 and three-months old — were riding in the SUV with him as well. The family was traveling from League City, Texas to Chicago to visit Bassett’s relatives for the holidays. According to police, Jackson struck a guard rail twice as they traveled along the highway. Upon smashing his vehicle, Jackson continued to travel four exits before stopping at a gas station to observe the vehicle’s damage.
Neither he nor his wife noticed that Franklin Jr. had been ejected from the vehicle during the crash. The child had flown through the vehicle’s rear window and lay in a grassy embankment along the highway. Police who responded to the scene found the unresponsive child, who was later taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.
Jackson, who was treated at a hospital for broken ribs told police he did not know his 4-year-old had been thrown from the SUV until he arrived at the gas station. Bassett and the couple’s three other children were not injured.
Franklin Jr. was the only passenger in the vehicle who had not been wearing a seatbelt.
Meanwhile, authorities stated that Jackson reportedly reeked of alcohol and had “glassy and bloodshot eyes.” The father of now three, admitted to police that he had been drinking. Investigators reportedly found an empty vodka bottle and beer cans strewn throughout Jackson’s SUV.
On Wednesday a judge ordered Jackson to be held on $250,000 bail.