A Michigan woman who ran over her 9-year-old son with her car after he refused to go to school was sentenced to 30 days in jail last week.
On Dec. 11, 2018, Tiffany Kosakowski, 36, dropped off her son, Julian, at his elementary school in Belmont, Michigan. Julian followed his mother out of the school and walked beside her car in the school's parking lot. Kosakowski backed up her car and told him to go back inside, MLive.com reported.
However, Julian held onto the passenger side door handle of the car. Kosakowski then accelerated the car, knowing that Julian was right there, she later told investigators.
“Kosakowski admitted to moving the steering wheel from left to right, then accelerating the vehicle knowing [her son] continued to be next to the vehicle,” according to court documents obtained by WZZM13.
As his mother swerved the car, school surveillance video showed the boy hanging onto the car’s door handle. He hung on for 47 yards before he lost his grip and was run over by the car’s back tire, police said.
Julian, who is in third grade, suffered multiple broken bones and a fractured skull. He was in a coma for a week after the incident and continues to require constant care and physical therapy, WZZM13 reported.
Kosakowski pleaded guilty in February to a charge of reckless driving causing serious injury. Another charge of second-degree child abuse was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
On Thursday, Judge Curt Benson sentenced Kosakowski to a six-month jail term, of which she will serve only 30 days with the remaining days suspended.
Julian’s father, John Rodriguez, told the court on Thursday that he had not seen his children in five years. He said he last saw Julian when he took him and his twin sister to a birthday party five years ago.
“The next time I saw my son he was lying in a coma,” an emotional Rodriguez said, adding that Julian had “his head covered in wires [and] tubes, and sensors in his mouth and all over his little body.”
Citing “grim details” from the police report, Rodriguez said that Kosakowski “swerved [the car] a little and gave it a little gas” and tried to “shake him off.”
The police report described Julian “lying on the pavement in a pool of blood,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said that he told detectives that “something is not right” with Kosakowski and he described her behavior over the years as “unstable,” “irrational,” and “reckless.”
“My son has suffered a traumatic brain injury,” Rodriguez said. He recalled in court what the doctor told him: “Your son is forever changed. His brain is healing, but there will always be signs of what happened.”
Kosakowski told the judge on Thursday that she was “remorseful” about what happened to her son.
“I’ll have to live with that for the rest of my life,” she said. “All I care about is being there for my son as he recovers and supporting him every day as I have been doing.”
Judge Benson said he received 30 letters in support of Kosakowski from her church and the school, but added that her behavior — as seen in the surveillance video — was “simply inexcusable.”
“Of the 30 people who wrote the letters, I'll be quite blunt with you — I am not sure all of them would be as supportive, if they, like I, watched the security footage of this incident, which is simply inexcusable,” Benson told Kosakowski during her sentencing.
“It was really hard to watch, and I am not sure you would enjoy as much support as you evidently do, had that been widely distributed,” Benson said.
Benson said that the video showed that the car’s rear tire went over Julian’s “full body, full head.”
He said that the child had “suffered terribly” but added, “He’s still your little boy and he still loves his mother.”
There is a separate case pending in family court that will determine parental custody for Julian and his sister.
A GoFundMe campaign to pay for Kosakowski’s legal expenses has raised more than $3,000 in three months.
“Tiffany was thrown into the foster system as a child and that shaped her entire view on family,” the campaign page says. “After having her children she experienced love for the first time.”
“Tiffany has not left Julian's side since the accident,” the fundraiser said.