Fighter whose baby was killed by DUI driver wants alcohol limit lowered
Liam Kowal, the infant son of Mishel Eder and professional fighter Marcus Kowal, was struck by a drunk driver in a hit and run accident on Saturday, September 3, 2016 at approximately 4:15 p.m. in Hawthorne, California. He was in a stroller, being pushed by his aunt, Marcus's 15-year-old sister in law; she too was struck by the vehicle, and received non-life-threatening leg injuries.
Liam died from the injuries the next day, and his organs were donated.
The SUV that struck Liam and his aunt was operated by Donna Marie Higgins, 72, who drove through the crosswalk striking both victims. She then fled the scene northbound. Witnesses followed Higgins for about a block and were able to box her vehicle in with their own cars until police arrived.
On August 10, 2017, Higgins pleaded guilty in Superior Court to vehicular manslaughter; she is serving six years in state prison.
Kowal and his wife Mishel Eder have created the nonprofit Liam’s Life Foundation to raise awareness of the dangers of drunk driving, changing what they characterize as a casual culture of drinking and driving, and to lobby for policy change. Their first step is attempting to lower the legal limit of .08 percent blood-alcohol concentration to .05. In Sweden, Kowal's country of birth, the limit is .02.
Kowal and Eder were in the state capitol on Wednesday, supporting Assembly Bill 1713, also known as Liam’s Law.
“Our fight isn’t with the alcohol industry," said Kowal to ABC10. "We’re not trying to get people to stop drinking. We’re saying don’t get behind the wheel when you’ve been drinking. And today you don’t have a reason or an excuse. You have Uber and Lyft. There are so many ways to get home. It is selfish and very irresponsible decision to make."
Eder too spoke in favor of the bill.
“We need to start changing the narrative between how many drinks it takes to get to .08 to impairment," she said. "I only got to spend 15-months with him before a drunk driver took him away from me."
Last year the couple released a book, “Life is a Moment." You can buy it on Amazon.