The 15-month-old son of a well-known mixed martial artist was killed on Sunday when a suspected drunk driver crashed her car into the toddler’s stroller, authorities say.
Marcus Kowal was walking with his son, Liam Kowal, when the child and his 15-year-old aunt entered a crosswalk and were struck in the southern California city of Hawthorne, police stated in a release.
The toddler was found in his stroller without a pulse and not breathing. The teenager who had been pushing it ― who Kowal identified as the sister of Liam’s mother ― suffered serious injuries, police said.
Kowal shared on Facebook that his son died later that day but not without a tremendous fight.
“About an hour ago, our baby was declared brain dead. He tried to fight so hard. He even died at one point but they brought him back,” his post read. “He’s a little fighter. His heart is still beating but his brain is no longer working. Our hearts are broken and there’s a void in my soul but we will get through this.”
The vehicle’s driver, identified by police as 72-year-old Donna Marie Higgins, allegedly fled the scene immediately after the 4:15 p.m. crash. Police credited witnesses with following her and blocking her vehicle until officers arrived.
She was arrested on two felony counts of hit-and-run and drunk driving but was released on $100,000 bail, police said.
Kowal later thanked his supporters for their thoughts and prayers and announced plans to donate his son’s organs.
“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,” the post read. “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.”
A family friend has established a GoFundMe page that aims to raise funds for the family’s medical expenses and funeral costs.
“As anyone can imagine, they are completely shocked, heartbroken, and have a long road ahead of them,” the page reads.
As of Tuesday morning, the fundraiser had raised more than $70,000 of a $100,000 goal.