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Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2019 @ 11:21 AM
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Tiffany Kosakowski’s son, Julian, did not want to go to school.
As the 9-year-old ran to his mother’s SUV and grabbed the handle of the passenger-side door Dec. 11, 2018, Kosakowski drove away. Julian clung to the door for nearly 50 yards before he fell, his skull fractured multiple times by a rear tire on the vehicle.
Kosakowski, 36, of Plainfield Township, was sentenced Thursday to six months in jail, with all but 30 days suspended, MLive.com reported. She was initially charged with second-degree child abuse and reckless driving causing serious impairment, but pleaded guilty to only the second charge as part of a plea deal.
“I just want to express that I am remorseful,” Kosakowski told the judge. “I’ll have to live with this for the rest of my life.”
Julian will, as well. According to MLive.com, he suffered a traumatic brain injury and requires ongoing treatment. His mother, who has a custody case pending in family court, still has custody of Julian and his twin sister.
“All I care right now about is being there for my son as he recovers and supporting him every day as I have been doing,” Kosakowski said.
Judge Curt Benson, who presided over Kosakowski’s case in a Kent County courtroom, told the defendant that he believes she feels remorse but called the crime inexcusable.
“It is simply inexcusable,” Benson said, according to MLive.com. “Forty-seven yards ….”
John Rodriguez, the children’s father, told the court he had not seen his children in five years prior to the incident, which took place in the parking lot of Chandler Woods Charter Academy in Belmont.
Watch Rodriguez address the court below, courtesy of MLive.com.
A look at Chandler Woods Charter Academy where someone was hit by a car. Kent Co. Sheriff Dept. & Medical Response Unit on scene.— Katherine Ducharme (@KD_WOODTV8) December 11, 2018
We’re told to wait for the Sgt. for an update. He’s expected to be here shortly. pic.twitter.com/w5vBTjNJGt
Rodriguez told Benson he took his children to a birthday party over one of his last “daddy weekends” with them. He said Julian wiggled to get free as they took a photo because the boy wanted more cake pops.
“The next time I saw my son, he lie in a coma,” Rodriguez said in a shaky voice.
He went on to tell the court that, when he got the phone call from Kosakowski about their son’s injuries, his grief was compounded by the many attempts he said he made over the years to prevent that day from happening.
“When I met the detective, I tried to explain, ‘There is a history. Something is not right,’” Rodriguez said. “Which words came out, I can’t even say. Anyway, he already knew.”
The upset father said the surveillance video from the school is clear and the police report is full of grim details of what happened to Julian.
“Quote: ‘Swerved a little and gave it a little gas,’” Rodriguez said. “Quote: ‘Tried to shake him off.’ Quote: ‘Lying on the pavement in a pool of blood.’”
Rodriguez broke down as he continued. He inferred that Kosakowski has continued to create conflict and appeared to accuse her of trying to turn his children against him.
“A plea deal has been accepted. Responsibility, not,” he said.
Benson said during sentencing that the video was, indeed, difficult to watch, MLive.com reported. It showed Julian running alongside his mother’s SUV and, after he fell, the rear wheel of the vehicle going over his body and head, the judge said.
“Your little boy has suffered terribly,” he told Kosakowski, according to the news site.
Benson told Kosakowski he did not want to compound the boy’s suffering by taking his mother away for a significant period of time, MLive.com said.