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Imagine coming home to learn your infant child had been killed by a drunk driver. That was the heartbreaking reality for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Marcus Kowal. But the MMA fighter is using his grief, and his celebrity to make sure others don’t have to feel the same pain.
Baby Liam was 15 months old when his stroller was struck by a drunk driver on September 4, 2016. His 15-year-old aunt was taking him for a walk when the pair was struck crossing a cross-walk. The aunt suffered serious leg injuries. By the time the police arrived, the infant was “pulseless and not breathing.”
With the help of witnesses, the police were able to stop the hit-and-run driver, a 72-year-old woman driving an SUV. A breath test revealed the driver was under the influence of alcohol. She was arrested for felony drunk driving and felony hit and run charges by the Hawthorne Police Department.
Medical professionals could not save baby Liam. On September 7, 2016, his parents decided to pull the plug.
Liam is the son of Marcus Kowal, a Swedish-born K2 World Title kickboxer and MMA fighter. Kowal has been a professional fighter since 2009. But his time in the ring didn’t prepare him for the loss of his child. After announcing Liam would be taken off life support he shared a picture to Facebook of his baby’s scraped hand (pictured above) with the caption:
“Good night bebisen [baby], you’ll always be with us. Pappa älskar dig [Daddy loves you].”
Liam’s mother, Mishel Eder, shared a similar picture on Instagram with the caption:
“Saying good bye to my light, my love before he goes to save lives. This pain is unbearable. Liam, I love you. Hug your children, kiss them always. Don’t lose patience. Laugh with them often. Get off your phones and play games. #rememberliam”
The captions give a glimpse into the pain felt by the survivors of a fatal drunk driving accident. But Marcus Kowal wanted to do more. He used his celebrity to make a statement against the condition that stole his child’s life. He posted a video on Instagram begging fans not to drink and drive:
“It’s been about four hours since I left the hospital where I said goodbye to my 15-month baby for the last time,” he somberly says to the camera. “Three days ago, he got hit by a drunk driver. I’m not a paid actor. This is not a commercial. This is reality. What I can say is: Don’t drink and drive. Don’t let a friend drink and drive. Please.”
The family has also decided to donate Liam’s 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.”
David Christensen is a drunk driving accident attorney. He helps the families of fatal drunk driving accidents recover from insurance companies and at-fault drivers. If you have been hit by a drunk driver, contact Christensen Law for a free consultation.