Teen badly burned at underage drinking party - KCTV5

Mom of burned teen wants woman to face stiffer penalty for underage party

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BALDWIN CITY, KS (KCTV) -

An angry mother told KCTV5 that she wants a woman to face tougher charges after her son suffered life-altering burns during an underage drinking party at the woman's residence.

But Lukas Armstrong disagrees with his mother, Mary Armstrong. He doesn't want the woman to face any additional charges.

Sherry Haskell faces a misdemeanor citation after prosecutors say she hosted a party at her Baldwin City home. She has a January court date.

The party occurred on June 8.

At the party, there was a fire pit, and someone threw a five-gallon can of gasoline into the fire while some partygoers were standing next to it. Lukas Armstrong said he immediately rushed on adrenaline to get the can out of the fire.

And then it exploded.

"It was like drowning, only you're able to breathe. But you're not in water, you're on land," he recalled. "I think about it every night."

He still cannot believe those images.

"You don't know what's happening. Your mind is boggled. You don't think you are going to catch fire, and then you do. It was unreal," he recalled.

Mary Armstrong said all that Haskell did was put her son in the shower and use dishwashing liquid on his burns. She said Haskell didn't immediately call 911 as she should have and delayed getting him medical attention. She said a 20-year-old was also burned in addition to her son.

Lukas Armstrong lost an ear as a result, which he hopes that doctors can rebuild. He's already had three skin-graph surgeries, and he spent more than two weeks in the University of Kansas Hospital's burn unit.

Armstrong's mother says it took three days before her son could even remember what happened, and what he told her after that time made her very angry.

"He said 'Mom, I couldn't breathe,'" Mary Armstrong said.

She said the woman eventually took her son to a Lawrence hospital. He was transferred from there to KU.

She immediately contacted prosecutors, but said she is upset that Haskell faces just a misdemeanor charge. She wants a child endangerment charge filed against Haskell, but her son doesn't think that is necessary.

"It wasn't her fault. It wasn't her fault. I understand she's being charged, but it wasn't her fault," Lukas Armstrong said. "I think it's just a shame."

To his mother's chagrin, he added that he won't testify against Haskell.

"I think she's manipulating him and manipulating all those kids," Mary Armstrong said.

For her part, Haskell declined to comment, citing the pending citation.

"I think I'm just going to have no comment until it settles down. I'm sorry," Haskell said.

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