Possible Plea Deal Delayed In Hawthorne Crash That Killed MMA Fighter’s Son

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) – A potential plea deal for a driver arrested in a Hawthorne hit-and-run crash that killed the 15-month-old son of an MMA fighter last year has been delayed.

Donna Marie Higgins, 72, was expected to accept a plea deal Wednesday at a hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court at the Airport Courthouse in the death of 15-month-old Liam Kowal.

However, the deal was delayed for at least another month due to legal wrangling. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office told CBS2 that “loose ends” have to be tied up first in a civil case before a potential plea deal can move forward.

Higgins pleaded not guilty back in November.

On Sept. 3, 2016, Hawthorne police say, Higgins drove through a crosswalk at the intersection of 133rd Street and Hawthorne Boulevard. Kowal was in a stroller being pushed his 15-year-old aunt. Both were struck by Higgins’ car. The crash occurred about one block from a gym owned by Liam’s father, professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Marcus Kowal.

Liam was found without a pulse and not breathing. He was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and placed in the ICU. He was taken off life support three days later. His father and mother decided to donate Liam’s organs.

Liam’s aunt was also hospitalized, but survived.

“Just very frustrating,” Marcus told CBS2 outside the courthouse Wednesday.

“We want her to pay the legal consequences, and, we just want this to be done with and for her to be in prison,” added Mishel Eder, Marcus’ wife and Liam’s mother.

Higgins attempted to flee from the scene without rendering aide, but witnesses cornered her, police said. At the time of the crash, she had mixed alcohol and prescription medication, police claim.

Higgins was initially arrested on charges of felony hit-and-run and driving under the influence of alcohol. Following Liam’s death, she was re-arrested on vehicular manslaughter charges.

“I feel nothing towards her,” Marcus told CBS2 back in September. “I want to make sure she can never drive her car again.”

The next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 10.

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