Utah Man Booked on Felony Child Abuse Charges for Throwing Corrosive Substance on Young Children

A Utah man was booked into Cache County jail on felony child abuse charges after he threw a corrosive substance on two young children, resulting in burns to their skin.

Chemical burns

Photo by: Michael Coghlan

32 year old Jason Keith Summers of Smithfield, Utah was arrested after he entered onto a neighbor’s property and threw a substance thought to be sulfuric acid on two young children playing in the yard. Sulfuric acid is a common ingredient in drain cleaner and fertilizer which can not only cause burns and tissue damage but also blindness. Both children suffered chemical burns to their skin, one who had the chemical thrown on his face required additional treatment from a specialized burn center. After trying to flee custody, Summers was finally booked into jail on multiple charges including second degree felony child abuse.

Child Abuse

Utah Code 76-5-112.5 states: “Unless a greater penalty is otherwise provided by law:

(a). . . a person is guilty of a felony of the third degree if the person knowingly or intentionally causes or permits a child or vulnerable adult to be exposed to, inhale, ingest, or have contact with a controlled substance, chemical substance, or drug paraphernalia;

(b) . . . a person is guilty of a felony of the second degree, if:

(i) the person engages in the conduct described [above]; and

(ii) as a result of the conduct . . . , a child or vulnerable adult suffers bodily injury, substantial bodily injury, or serious bodily injury”.

History of drugs and violence

Perhaps in defense of his actions, Summers alerted police that he had used drugs the day of the chemical attack and law enforcement agreed Summers appeared under the influence of something. Court records further indicate Summers has a lengthy history of aggressive behavior while under the influence of illicit substances. While drug use may cause individuals to behave in ways they normally wouldn’t, they are still ultimately held responsible for their actions. Hopefully a treatment plan to overcome addiction will be included with the punishment handed down to Summers so he can stop the cycle of drug use and criminal actions.

Uptick of Family Disputes and Violence on Thanksgiving

Law enforcement has noted that there is an uptick of calls regarding family disputes or violence between family members during the holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving. There are things that can be done to help avoid sticky situations and keep the peace during the upcoming family festivities.

Picture perfect

Photo by: Andrea Goh

Photo by: Andrea Goh

Thanksgiving Day is a time when many people gather together with their relatives to enjoy a magnificent feast. They may envision laughing while good memories are shared and made with everyone eating delicious food and sipping on bubbly. Luckily, this is the reality for some families. Others however, dread the upcoming holiday knowing that Great Aunt Beatrice is probably going to say something snarky about a cousin’s questionable relationship while after four to five glasses of champagne, Uncle Joe usually loses his ability to filter the words that exit his mouth. Unfortunately, during Thanksgiving or other family get-togethers, it is not rare to have family disputes arise that can quickly escalate into violence.

It begins…

Photo by: Paul Townsend

Photo by: Paul Townsend

While the meal itself can be a joyous part of Thanksgiving, the time leading up to dinner time can be stressful for those responsible for feeding a small army. This stress becomes evident as people head out shopping for the ingredients needed to complete their glorious spread. Grocery stores are usually jam-packed leading up to Thanksgiving with hundreds of other people with not only the same idea, but often with a shopping list similar to those around them. When the pumpkin pies run out or stuffing mix is nowhere to be found, some may start to lose their cool. Others might manage to maintain their composure until they make it home where their stress can lead to agitation and tension between family members.

Wanted (and unwanted) house guests

Family Disputes

Photo by: Corey Balazowich

If hotels have no vacancy or family members want to save money on lodging, they may be invited (or invite themselves) to stay with family members in the area they are visiting. When multiple family members get crammed under one roof, differences of opinions are to be expected. Some arguments may arise due to bedrooms and bathrooms being reluctantly shared; too many know it all cooks in the kitchen; or family members who are not on good terms with each other being forced to rub shoulders more than desired. Any of these or other uncomfortable circumstances can cause already delicate situations to escalate. Sometimes family disputes quickly fizzle out, other times they simmer only to explode later on into physical confrontations.

Prepare and avoid family disputes

Everyone knows the holidays can be stressful and that every member of the family is likely to be in attendance at family gatherings, whether or not they are entirely welcome. With this foresight in mind, it might be wise to prepare for uncomfortable situations and avoid things that can cause disputes to spiral into violence.

Photo by: tinaxduzgen

Photo by: tinaxduzgen

Some suggestions to help limit intense arguments and calls to law enforcement include:

• Avoid hot button topics. If hot button topics such as religion or politics are liable to spark heated debates that can turn physical, make it a rule to avoid these while stuck together at a table.

• Seating chart. Recommend to the host a seating chart that will keep certain people apart who are more likely to argue.

• Limit embarrassing or unpleasant storytelling. If stories from the past aren’t enjoyable for everyone, leave them behind and interject immediately if these reminiscences begin to surface. This is easier for the host to do, as they should have a say in what goes on in their home.

Photo by: jenny downing

Photo by: jenny downing

• Keep the drinking to a minimum. Excessive alcohol consumption has a way of turning a simple argument into an all-out fist fight.

• Get out of there. If a family dinner turns hostile, it may be time to leave. If things do turn into physical confrontations, it is better not to be an involved party when law enforcement gets called in.

• Be a peacemaker. Often it can take a single person to help lighten the mood when things begin to go sour. Be thankful and courteous; patient and understanding. Set the tone and others will hopefully follow suit.