Donna Marie Higgins Finally Pleads Guilty For Pedestrian Hit-And-Run Death, Sentenced to Prison
Scene of Crime, Higgins
HAWTHORNE – After almost a year of pleading not guilty, then attempting a possible plea deal, Donna Marie Higgins (72) of Hawthorne has plead guilty for the DUI hit-and-run crash that killed 15-month-old Liam Marcus Kowal in a Hawthorne crosswalk.
Police reported that alcohol mixed with drugs had fueled this hit-and-run which struck two pedestrians in a Hawthorne crosswalk on September 3, 2016.
Witnesses in vehicles followed Higgins as she fled in her SUV, then blocked the roadway and called police.
Paramedics gave CPR to Liam who was not breathing and still in his stroller. They assisted his aunt (15) who had sustained leg injuries. L. A. County Fire rescue continued CPR and transported both victims to Harbor UCLA Medical Center.
Hawthorne PD Traffic Bureau investigators determined that Higgins was driving while intoxicated, placed her under arrest, and booked her into Hawthorne jail with $100,000 bail for both felony hit-and-run and felony drunk driving.
Liam’s parents took their son off of life support when his brain showed no activity after days of attempts to save his life. Liam’s father, Marcus Kowal, Mixed Martial Arts commentator and CEO of a Venice training facility, announced then, “This isn’t easy to write but Liam is going to donate his organs, so that his little heart can make another child live.”
Mishel Eder, Marcus’ wife and Liam’s mother reportedly said then, “We want her to pay the legal consequences, and, we just want this to be done with and for her to be in prison.”
Higgins pleaded not guilty last November, then was expected to accept a possible plea deal in July. Last night, Deputy District Attorney Keri Modder of the L.A. District Attorney’s Office said Higgins entered the plea to one felony count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
Higgins was immediately sentenced to six years in state prison. Hawthorne PD Watch Commander Sergeant Chris Port told CrimeVoice, “We try and educate the public about signs and traffic laws, but it is up to people’s integrity to stop when hitting someone.”