Driver Pleads Guilty In Hit-And-Run Crash That Killed MMA Fighter’s Son

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) – A driver will serve six years in prison after pleading guilty in a hit-and-run crash in Hawthorne that killed the 15-month-old son of an MMA fighter last year.

capture18 Driver Pleads Guilty In Hit And Run Crash That Killed MMA Fighter’s Son

MMA fighter Marcus Kowal and his wife, Mishel Eder, outside Los Angeles County Superior Court. Aug. 10, 2017. (KNX 1070)

As part of a deal with prosecutors, 72-year-old Donna Marie Higgins pleaded guilty Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court to vehicular manslaughter in the death of Liam Kowal. As part of her plea deal, she will serve six years in state prison, KNX 1070 reports.

Higgins had also been charged with felony hit-and-run and driving under the influence of alcohol. Those charges were dropped as part of the plea deal, prosecutors said.

Higgins had initially pleaded not guilty back in November.

Hawthorne police say on Sept. 3, 2016, 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.

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.

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

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.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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