Son of MMA fighter Marcus Kowal dies after being struck in alleged DUI crash
(FOX 11) - Charges were pending Tuesday against a 72-year-old suspected drunken driver who allegedly failed to stop after hitting a toddler, who was later removed from life support, and his teenage aunt at a Hawthorne intersection.
Liam Mikel Kowal's parents, MMA fighter and trainer Marcus Kowal and Mishel Eder, decided to donate their 15-month-old son's organs after tests showed the boy would not recover from his injuries.
"This isn't easy to write but Liam is going to donate his organs, so that his little heart can make another child live and another set of parents not have to go through what we have to,'' Marcus Kowal said in a statement.
"We were told that we can donate to someone we know. Therefore, I am writing this post to ask if there is a child out there we know that needs a heart or any other organ. It hurts to write this, but Liam loved to share and the person we were going to raise him to be would love to help someone else. So anyone we know, or someone you know, inbox me please.''
Surgeons at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center were able to stabilize the child following the collision late Saturday afternoon. But based on subsequent medical tests, the child's family made the decision to remove the boy from life support, and he died on Sunday, said Hawthorne police Lt. Ti Goetz.
"Unfortunately, medical scans indicated the child show no signs of brain activity and doctors determined the child did not have any chances of recovery,'' Goetz said.
Donna Marie Higgins, the suspected hit-and-run motorist, was arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and felony drunken driving. She was released from the Hawthorne jail on $100,000 bail.
"She bailed out on the lesser charge, prior to the child passing,'' Goetz said. "Our traffic investigators are considering their options for further action regarding the new situation. There will be charges added that reflect the outcome of the collision.''
The collision occurred at 4:15 p.m. Saturday at the intersection of 133rd Street and Hawthorne Boulevard. The toddler's 15-year-old aunt was pushing her nephew in a baby stroller inside the crosswalk when they were struck by an SUV driven by Higgins, police said.
Witnesses followed the SUV for about one block, then used their own vehicles to block the vehicle until police arrived, according to police.
Neighborhood residents and workers said the intersection of Hawthorne and 133rd is very dangerous. There are no stoplights, but there are warning and pedestrian crossing signs. There are also flashing lights.
"Cars seem to just zoom on by and I think that something needs to be done about this intersection," resident Jim Saurez said.
The girl was hospitalized in serious but stable condition with leg injuries, according to family members. She is the sister of the toddler's mother.
As of Tuesday morning, the gofundme page established for the family had raised more than $78,000 of a $100,000 goal.
"As anyone can imagine, they are completely shocked, heartbroken, and have a long road ahead of them,'' according to a statement posted on the gofundme page.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced.
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