CBS News reports that the baby son of a well-known Southern California MMA fighter has died after an apparent hit and run Saturday afternoon.
According to reports, the fighter’s son, Liam Mikael Kowal, was being pushed in his stroller by his aunt when they were hit by a SUV. The accident occurred at a crosswalk where the pair were crossing a street. The intersection has flashing yellow lights, but is not a stoplight.
Fighter’s son taken off life-support
Although the child was stabilized at the hospital, the family has decided to remove him from life support and donate his organs. This announcement was made by MMA fighter Marcus Kowal and his wife on his Facebook page Monday morning.
“This isn’t easy to write but Liam is going to donate his organs, so that his little heart can make another child live,” Kowal wrote.
“They made the decision, I think it’s a beautiful decision, and it’s based on the fact that if they can have a set of parents that doesn’t have to go what they’re doing through,” said Thomas Kowal, the baby’s uncle.
Police have arrested Donna Marie Higgins, 72, who was believed to have been intoxicated at the time of the accident. She was later charged with felony hit-and-run and felony drunk driving Saturday. She was apprehended after she left the scene when witnesses followed her car and notified police.
Labor Day deaths related to DUI
Liam Mikael Kowal joins at least thirty other people who were killed over the Labor Day weekend in California alone. In fact, the California Highway Patrol reported this morning that 2,017 people were arrested on suspicion of drunk driving over the weekend.
Statewide the number of DUI arrests dipped slightly from 2,163 arrests and 35 DUI deaths statewide recorded last year.
In Los Angeles County alone the police arrested 382 people on suspicion of drunk driving and two people were killed this year compared to 393 DUI arrests made last year and 10 traffic deaths related to driving under the influence.
What more can the state do to combat driving under the influence (DUI)?
Despite the efforts which have been made over the last several decades to combat drunken driving, experts suggest that even more can be done to lower the incidence of drunken driving.
In fact, several efforts are under way in many states including allowing sobriety checkpoints, requiring mandatory installation of ignition interlock systems for DUI offenders, increasing mass media campaigns to persuade and encourage people not to drink and drive, increasing alcohol screening programs and creating school-based instructional programs to teach teens not to ride with drunk drivers.
Although all of these efforts are a great start to combat drunken driving, until society creates sufficient deterrents and penalties or instills the moral fortitude and social stigma against drinking and driving we will continue to see weekends where dozens of people are killed by intoxicated drivers just like baby Liam.
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